These computer simulations show the Mars Science Laboratory’s current position on the journey between Earth and Mars. NASA’s next Mars rover, Curiosity, is slated to land on the Red Planet 142 days from now on Aug. 6, 2012 (EDT). At about 285,000,000 km away it is half way on it’s journey to mars.
NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory mission is preparing to set down a large, mobile laboratory — the rover Curiosity — using precision landing technology that makes many of Mars’ most intriguing regions viable destinations for the first time. During the 23 months after landing, Curiosity will analyze dozens of samples drilled from rocks or scooped from the ground as it explores with greater range than any previous Mars rover. Curiosity will carry the most advanced payload of scientific gear ever used on Mars’ surface, a payload more than 10 times as massive as those of earlier Mars rovers. Its assignment: Investigate whether conditions have been favorable for microbial life and for preserving clues in the rocks about possible past life.