NASA / JPL-CALTECH / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / JPL-CALTECH / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Mars Science Laboratory. Computer artwork of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) spacecraft entering the Martian atmosphere. Seen here is the aeroshell, which encloses the Curiosity rover and the descent stage. Most of the spacecraft's deceleration occurs due to the friction experienced during this stage. 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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