NASA Set to Launch Plutonium-Fueled Mars Rover, ‘Curiosity’, on November 25
"NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory, a $2.5 billion rover designed to assess that planet’s suitability for life, arrived at its Florida launch pad on Thursday in preparation for a planned November 25 liftoff, the U.S. space agency said.
The heat shield for NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory, the largest ever built for a planetary mission.
The spacecraft, which is about the size of a small car, was scheduled to be hoisted by crane to the top an unmanned Atlas 5 rocket at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, NASA spokeswoman Lisa Malone said.
Powered by heat from the decay of radioactive plutonium, the rover is expected to spend one Martian year — 687 Earth days — exploring a massive crater that has a 3-mile-high mountain rising from its floor. That is about twice the height of the rock layers exposed in the Grand Canyon.
Scientists do not know how the mountain formed, but it may be the eroded remnant of sediment that once completely filled the crater.”
”- For the overall mission, there is a 1 in 220 chance
that a failure could result in a release of
- There is a 1 in 420 chance of a failure resulting in
a release of plutonium dioxide in the launch area.”
(someone @ NASA is a stoner)