Photos of Mars Science Laboratory mission. Part II.
The rover carries a radioisotope power system that generates electricity from the heat of plutonium's radioactive decay. This power source gives the mission an operating lifespan on Mars' surface of a full martian year (687 Earth days) or more, while also providing significantly greater mobility and operational flexibility, enhanced science payload capability, and exploration of a much larger range of latitudes and altitudes than was possible on previous missions to Mars.
Arriving at Mars at 10:32 p.m. PDT on Aug. 5, 2012 (1:32 a.m. EDT on Aug. 6, 2012), Mars Science Laboratory will serve as an entrée to the next decade of Mars exploration. It represents a huge step in Mars surface science and exploration capability because it will:
• demonstrate the ability to land a very large, heavy rover to the surface of Mars (which could be used for a future Mars Sample Return mission that would collect rocks and soils and send them back to Earth for laboratory analysis)
• demonstrate the ability to land more precisely in a 20-kilometer (12.4-mile) landing circle
• demonstrate long-range mobility on the surface of the red planet (5-20 kilometers or about 3 to 12 miles) for the collection of more diverse samples and studies.
|Timeline of the landing to Mars|
|Looking at the photos of Martian surface it seems like some Arizona landscapes.|