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Mars Science Laboratory



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3D Model of Curiosity Rover: Click (or touch) and drag to interact with this 3D model of the Curiosity Rover.

In some sense, the Mars Science Laboratory rover's parts are similar to what any living creature would need to keep it "alive" and able to explore.

The rover has a:

  • body: a structure that protects the rovers´ "vital organs"

  • brains: computers to process information

  • temperature controls: internal heaters, a layer of insulation, and more

  • "neck and head": a mast for the cameras to give the rover a human-scale view

  • eyes and other "senses": cameras and instruments that give the rover information about its environment

  • arm and "hand": a way to extend its reach and collect rock samples for study

  • wheels and "legs": parts for mobility

  • energy: batteries and power

  • communications: antennas for "speaking" and "listening"

Fast Facts

Mission name: Mars Science Laboratory

Rover name: Curiosity rover

Size: About the size of a small SUV -- 10 feet (about 3 meters) long (not including the arm), 9 feet (2.7 meters) wide and 7 feet (2.2 meters) tall, or about the height of a basketball player.

Arm Reach: About 7 feet (2.2 meters)

Weight: 2,000 pounds (900 kilograms)

Features: Geology lab, rocker-bogie suspension, rock-vaporizing laser and lots of cameras

Mission: To search areas of Mars for past or present conditions favorable for life, and conditions capable of preserving a record of life

7:02 a.m. PST, Nov. 26, 2011
(10:02 a.m. EST)

10:32 p.m. PDT, Aug. 5, 2012
(1:32 a.m. EDT, Aug. 6, 2012)

Length of mission on Mars: The prime mission lasted one Mars year or about 23 Earth months.

Mission Fact sheet: Download the Mars Science Laboratory Fact Sheet (PDF, 1.44 MB)