The world’s largest interplanetary research station, Curiosity, was launched to Mars to search for life on this planet.
To reach the red planet, Curiosity will have to overcome more than 570 million kilometers, which will take eight and a half months.
Rover was launched on an unmanned booster Atlas 5. More than 13,000 visitors came to the NASA Space Center to watch live this launch. For NASA it was the first launch of the rover in eight years and the first launch of the machine to the nearest neighbor of the Earth over the past 4 years.
This is the "real rover on steroids," - said Collin Hartman of NASA. "It is an order of magnitude more functional than anything else that we have launched to any planet of the solar system."
The main purpose of this mission with a budget of $ 2.5 billion, is the search for signs of life in the form of micro-organisms that could exist on this planet in the past, or still remain on it in the present. Although there are no on-board sensors for detecting microorganisms, cash, check whether the soil for organic compounds.
Curiosity is equipped with 1.8 meter arm that can drill the Martian soil by a jackhammer, and a 1.8-meter high tower is crowned with laser cameras and high-resolution cameras. No one in the history of the rover did not yet have such capabilities and technologies.
In preparation for sending astronauts, Curiosity will make measurements of radiation levels of the planet. In addition, the rover is equipped with a weather station, which allows you to determine the temperature, wind speed and humidity.
Of all mankind was undertaken three dozen attempts to reach Mars, of which less than half the success crowned.
Curiosity will hold at least two years in the area of Gale Crater, which was selected as the landing site because of the high mineral content. According to scientists, it is a place like no other for finding life.
The fuel for the rover will serve 4.8 pounds of radioactive plutonium, which will allow him to go further and perform more hard work than any of his predecessors.