Although manned space flight has taken a temporary hiatus for NASA, there are still plenty of cool initiatives in the works at NASA. Last week NASA launched a new rover that will head to Mars for exploration. The rover weighs one ton, has a robotic arm, drill, video camera and equipment to explore soil and rocks to look for signs of life. GovExec reports:
NASA and its commercial space partner, the United Launch Alliance, launched a new rover to Mars on Saturday morning – a mission the agency hopes will answer two questions: whether life ever survived on Mars, and what the future of U.S. space exploration will look like.
The Atlas V rocket carrying the Mars Science Laboratory lifted off right on time from Cape Canaveral, Fla., shortly after 10 a.m. After achieving Earth orbit a second burst from the upper stage pushed it out of orbit and onto its 352-million-mile trajectory to Mars.
This will be an exciting mission to keep an eye on and the scientific findings of the mission. GovExec reports that NASA escaped large funding cuts from Congress this year, but is under pressure to perform and produce results. The public-private partnership with United Launch Alliance is likely a glimpse into the future of how NASA will run future missions. In any event, I am excited to see and follow the mission.
What kind of findings would you like to see?