Date: 15 Jul 2011
In the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, technicians process the backshell for NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL).
The spacecraft's backshell carries the parachute and several components used during later stages of entry, descent and landing of MSL's rover, Curiosity. A United Launch Alliance Atlas V-541 configuration will be used to loft MSL into space. Curiosity's 10 science instruments will search for habitable environments on Mars that could support life, past or present.
The unique rover will carry a laser to look inside rocks and release the gasses so that its spectrometer can analyze and send the data back to Earth, as well as sophisticated chemistry experiments and high-powered microscopes.
For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/msll.
Last Update: 30 Aug 2011 (AMB)
Credit: NASA/Jim Grossmann