PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA's Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft with the Curiosity rover is set to launch to the planet Mars aboard an Atlas V rocket on Nov. 25, 2011 from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The launch window extends from 10:25 a.m. to 12:08 p.m. EST (7:25 a.m. to 9:08 a.m. PST). The launch period for the mission extends through Dec. 18.
The spacecraft will arrive at Mars in August 2012. Curiosity has 10 science instruments to search for evidence about whether Mars had environments favorable for microbial life, including the chemical ingredients for life. The unique rover will use a laser to look inside rocks and release their gasses so that a spectrometer can analyze them and send the data back to Earth.
Briefings about the mission are scheduled throughout the week leading to launch and will be held at the Kennedy Space Center's Press Site.