NASA is working on creating a new mars rover to be launched in October 2011 called Curiosity or Mars Science Laboratory rover. Overall, Curiosity is about the size of a small SUV. Curiosity, will carry many different instruments such as cameras, spectrometers, radiation detectors and other instruments.
Using a radioisotope power system, Curiosity will be able to travel at an average of 98 feet per hour and is expected to last 687 Earth days while on Mars.
NASA also states Curiosity will have a new unique landing.
The rover will rely on new technological innovations, especially for landing. The spacecraft will descend on a parachute and then, during the final seconds prior to landing, lower the upright rover on a tether to the surface, much like a sky crane.
NASA and JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) are also allowing people to send in their name to be included on a microchip on Curiosity. You can send you name here. Curiosity was named by a 6th grader named Clara Ma who won a contest. See Clara’s winning essay here.
So, will you send your name to Mars aboard Curiosity?