NASA began a historic voyage to Mars with the recent launch of the Mars Science Laboratory, which carries a car-sized rover named Curiosity.
It will take Curiosity, the space exploration vehicle, nine months and approximately 354 million miles to get to the Red Planet.
Upon arrival, the one-ton spacecraft will hurl through the Mars atmosphere and deploy a massive parachute and a new landing system.
This newest rover is slated to land on the planet's Gale Crater, which Richard Cook, deputy project manager of the Mars Science Laboratory mission, calls the "Grand Canyon of Mars."
The goal of this ambitious mission: to find organic material, methane, carbon-rich soil, signs of water -- in other words, evidence of extraterrestrial life.
"We want to take a more sophisticated set of instrumentation --- scientific instrumentation --- and look to see if Mars truly was habitable." Richard Cook, deputy project manager of the Mars Science Laboratory mission.
1. What is a space rover?
2. Where is Mars? Name the other eight planets in the solar system.
3. What is NASA?
1. Why did NASA launch the Curiosity rover into space?
2. What information are scientists hoping to collect?
3. Do you think space exploration is important? Why or why not?
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