Giant space lab sent to Mars

Giant space lab sent to Mars

NASA launches Mars Curiosity rover

What's the size of a car and costs £1.6 billion? NASA's latest rover, Curiosity.

Curiosity is the largest robot to ever explore another planet.  It was launched on November 26 2011 and will land on Mars in summer 2012, after a journey of eight and a half months.

The aim of Curiosity's mission is to find out of there has ever been life on Mars. Do aliens really exist? Curiosity probably won't find giant green space men. If there has ever been life on Mars it was probably something microscopic, like bacteria.

There is lots of high-tech equipment on Curiosity. My favourite bit is the powerful laser which has the energy of a million light bulbs. The powerful laser zaps small bits of red Martian rock to see what the rocks are made of.

Curiosity also has a weather station to measure temperature, wind and humidity. NASA is planning to launch an app using these readings to show you what the weather is like on Mars. You might be able to get live Martian weather on your phone!

Curiosity will land in a huge crater near the Martian equator. After it has landed, Curiosity will climb out of the crater and explore Mars. Any Martian bacteria should watch out. Curiosity is coming to find you!

To find out more, go to Mars Science Laboratory.

How much do you know about Mars? Have a go at our quiz!

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