NASA’s Curiosity rover is due to land on Mars in early August


This artwork shows the rover Curiosity exploring Mars for signs of life. (NASA/REUTERS)
July 18, 2012

NASA’s Curiosity rover is due to land on Mars in early August, but a malfunction in another spacecraft orbiting the planet means we may not see any photos of the landing.

According to NASA (the National Aeronautics and Space Administration), Curiosity, which is about the size of a car, is on schedule to land August 5.

Just landing the robot rover on Mars won’t be easy, though. NASA’s John Grunsfield calls the Curiosity’s descent “the hardest NASA mission ever attempted in the history of robotic planetary exploration.”

NASA scientists say the purpose of the mission is to look for evidence that life ever existed on the planet. Such evidence could include signs of water, energy or carbon, all of which are necessary for life.

Curiosity was launched into space in November. It is scheduled to land in Gale Crater, where NASA researchers think there may have been water billions of years ago.

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