Thu, August 23, 2012
Technology > Science > U.S. Mars Rover Curiosity Lands

U.S. Mars rover Curiosity touches down in Red Planet

2012-08-06 05:41:32 GMT2012-08-06 13:41:32(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

In this image from NASA TV, shot off a video screen, one of the first images from the Curiosity rover is pictured of its wheel after it successfully landed on Mars. (REUTERS/Courtesy NASA TV/Handout)

Image shot off a video screen from NASA TV shows members of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) team celebrating inside the Spaceflight Operations Facility for NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover at Jet Propulsion Laboratory after receiving the first few images from the Curiosity rover, in Pasadena, California August 5, 2012. (REUTERS/Courtesy NASA TV/Handout)

Image shot off a video screen from NASA TV shows members of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) team celebrating inside the Spaceflight Operations Facility for NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover at Jet Propulsion Laboratory after receiving the first few images from the Curiosity rover, in Pasadena, California August 5, 2012. (REUTERS/Courtesy NASA TV/Handout)

WASHINGTON, Aug. 6 (Xinhua) -- NASA's Mars rover Curiosity, loaded with the most-sophisticated instruments ever used to explore the outer space, touched down on the Red Planet early Monday morning, on a quest for signs of whether the Mars has evidence of past and present habitable environments.

Weighing nearly a ton, the six-wheeled vehicle dwarfs all previous robots sent to the surface of the planet. It is about twice as long and more than five times as heavy as any previous Mars rover.

During a prime mission lasting one Martian year -- nearly two Earth years -- researchers will use the rover's tools to study whether the landing region has had environmental conditions favorable for supporting microbial life and favorable for preserving clues about whether life existed.

The 2.5-billion-U.S.-dollar Mars Science Laboratory, the formal name of the mission deploying the Curiosity rover, was launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida, on Nov. 26, 2011.

Related:

NASA Curiosity landing animation

Mars rover embodiment of advanced technologies

Mars rover Curiosity's 10 science instruments

NASA's past Mars exploration missions

Basic information about NASA's Mars rover Curiosity

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