Mars Science Laboratory mission, artwork

Mars Science Laboratory mission, artwork

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Credit: NASA/JPL-CALTECH/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Mars Science Laboratory. Computer artwork of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) spacecraft parachuting to the Martian surface. The Curiosity rover is seen enclosed in the backshell portion of the spacecraft's aeroshell, after the jettisoning of the heat shield. At 16 metres in diameter this is the largest parachute to ever fly on a planetary mission. The MSL is due for launch at the end of November 2011 and to land on Mars in August 2012 on a mission to determine if Mars is, or was ever, able to support microbial life.

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