New NASA probe blasts off for the red planet

Tech Corner

POSTED: Saturday, November 26, 2011 - 1:42pm

UPDATED: Monday, November 28, 2011 - 2:02pm

NASA's next step in search for life on Mars started just after 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 26 when the latest Mars rover began its long journey to the planet.

The rover is called "Curiosity" but calling it "complicated" may have worked, too.

"This is the most complicated mission we've attempted on the surface of Mars, the science kind of demands that," says project manager Peter Theisinger.

In this case, the science is trying to determine if Mars is or ever could have been a place that harbored life.

That's what Curiosity will be looking for, driving for miles across the red planet's landscape.

"This rover, Curiosity Rover, is really a Rover on steroids," says NASA's Colleen Hartman. "It will go longer, it will discover more than we could possibly imagine."

After its launch from Cape Canaveral the capsule carrying Curiosity will separate from the Atlas rocket and spend the next eight and a half months traveling 60 million miles to Mars.

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