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NASA Offers Media Access To Mars-Bound Rover On Aug. 12

August 10, 2011

NASA’s next Mars rover, the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) known as Curiosity, will be the focus of a media opportunity at 7 a.m. EDT on Friday, Aug. 12, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

News media representatives will have an opportunity to photograph the rover and interview project and launch program officials during the event at Kennedy’s Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility. Curiosity will be integrated later with its descent stage, which will take it to the Martian surface. The MSL mission is targeted to launch Nov. 25 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Complex 41 aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.

For the Aug. 12 event, journalists must arrive at the Kennedy Press Site no later than 7 a.m. for transportation to the facility. They will return to the Press Site by 10:15 a.m. No more than two representatives from a media organization will be allowed to participate because of limited space.

The deadline to apply for accreditation is Thursday, Aug. 11 at noon. Government photo identification, such as a driver’s license or passport, will be required to receive a badge. Journalists who are foreign nationals may attend only if they possess a permanently- issued NASA media accreditation picture badge from Kennedy Space Center, or a Kennedy-issued white badge with an affixed green dot. Hours of the Kennedy Badging Office located on State Road 405 east of the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex are 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Journalists needing accreditation should apply online at: https://media.ksc.nasa.gov

Reporters should call the Kennedy update phone line at 321-867-2525 on Thursday evening to confirm the event date and time have not changed.

Curiosity will use 10 science instruments to investigate whether the selected area inside Gale crater was ever habitable or provided conditions favorable for microbial life. The rover’s drill will pull samples from rocks’ interiors so other instruments aboard can analyze them for evidence about past environments and the presence of chemical ingredients for life. The rover’s payload also includes color cameras, a laser that will analyze rocks from a distance to detect their composition, and sensors that monitor weather, water and high-energy radiation.

Individuals entering the cleanroom where the spacecraft is being prepared for launch must follow procedures for optically sensitive spacecraft. Full cleanroom attire (bunny suits) will be furnished and must be worn. Participants may not wear perfume, cologne or makeup. Long pants and closed-toe shoes must be worn — no shorts or skirts.

Photographers will need to clean camera equipment under the supervision of contamination-control specialists. All camera equipment must be self-contained. No portable lights are allowed. Non-essential equipment such as suede, leather or vinyl camera bags or other carrying cases must be left outside the cleanroom. No notebook paper, pencils, or conventional pens are permitted. Special pens and cleanroom paper will be provided. No food, tobacco, chewing gum, lighters, matches or pocketknives will be allowed. Use of wireless microphones and cellular telephones is not allowed inside the cleanroom. Electronic flash will be permitted. The lighting in the facility is high-pressure sodium (orange).

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., manages the MSL mission. The launch is managed by NASA’s Launch Services Program (LSP) at Kennedy. Spokespeople from JPL and LSP will be available for questions and interviews.

For more information about MSL, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/msl




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