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U.S. delays launch of Mars rover

(Xinhua)

14:37, November 22, 2011

WASHINGTON, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- The launch of the Mars Science Laboratory, which contains the car-sized Curiosity rover, has been delayed by a day to Nov. 26, the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced Monday.

The delay will "allow time for the team to remove and replace a flight termination system battery," NASA said in a statement.

The launch is now scheduled for 10:02 a.m. (1502 GMT) on Saturday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. The launch window remains open for one hour and 43 minutes.

Curiosity is about twice as long and more than five times as heavy as any previous Mars rover. Its 10 science instruments include two for ingesting and analyzing samples of powdered rock delivered by the rover's robotic arm.

Scheduled to land on the Mars in August 2012, the one-ton rover will examine Gale Crater during a nearly two-year prime mission. Curiosity will land near the base of a layered mountain three miles (five kilometers) high inside the crater. The rover will investigate whether environmental conditions ever have been favorable for development of microbial life and preserved evidence of those conditions.

 
 
 
 
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