Saturday, July 4, 2009

NASA Cleanroom Creates Next Mars Rover

At NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Spacecraft Assembly Facility in Pasadena, CA, researchers are hard at work designing and building the next generation of Mars rover.

Two models of Curiosity, the newest rover, are being assembled in this cleanroom. The first, an engineering model, will be tested next door in a simulated Mars landscape. The second, the flight model, will live in the cleanroom until it launches in 2011.

Curiosity is the biggest, most powerful rover ever designed. It is nearly twice as long as its predecessors at 10 feet long and weighs nearly a ton. When it reaches Mars, the rover will have a set of instruments to test the surface for signs of past potential habitability.

Completion will take months, and it is expected that modifications will be made along the way as the rover is tested.

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