GovLaunch: NASA Launches Mission to Mars

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?

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Pat Fiorenza

@Scott – that is pretty cool! How did you get to see the rover? I’m pretty excited to see the images and the findings from the mission, incredible technology..

Scott Thomas

Pat — I worked with a few great people from JPL and they offered to give me a private tour. It was also neat that they had a room set up with an exact model of the current mars rover stuck in the sand. They were trying to figure out how to get it out of the sand! They also had a field set up that mimics the surface of mars so they can test out how it moves. Pretty smart folks over there at JPL!