Last updated on April 25, 2014 at 1:22 EDT
Curiosity Rovers Payload Fairing
1469 of 1682

Curiosity Rover's Payload Fairing

August 7, 2012
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Half of the Atlas V payload fairing for NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission is lifted into a vertical position in the airlock of the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The fairing will protect the spacecraft from the impact of aerodynamic pressure and heating during ascent and will be jettisoned once the spacecraft is outside the Earth's atmosphere. Curiosity has 10 science instruments to search for evidence about whether Mars has had environments favorable for microbial life, including chemical ingredients for life. Launch of MSL aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket is planned for Nov. 25 from Space Launch Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. For more information, visit http://www.nasa.gov/msl. Image Credit: NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis