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NASA has selected a new place for rover landing.

NASA selected the MSL (Mars Science Laboratory, a scientific laboratory for the study of Mars) next generation Mars rover landing site, the official website of the agency.

The unit will start its way to Mars in a crater Hale. The diameter of the funnel of the crater is 150 kilometers. Inside there is a mound of sediment height of about five kilometers, which is believed to have been brought here one of the rivers that once flowed on the Martian surface. According to researchers, this region is a promising place to look for traces of life.

In addition to the title of Gale Crater landing site MSL claimed crater Eberswalde, Mort valley and crater Holden. The latter two dropped out fairly quickly, and for 7 July, it was known that scientists choose between the craters Hale and Eberswalde. The final decision promised to July 11, but it was postponed.

The rover MSL (second name «Curiosity», which translates as «curiosity») should go to Mars in the period from November 25 to December 18, 2011 — at this time relative position of the Red Planet and Earth will be optimal for the flight. The exact cost of the device is still unknown, but it is estimated at $ 2.5 billion.

MSL will be equipped with a large number of scientific instruments. Thus, the device will be installed three cameras, several spectrometers. Implementing all these devices with electric power will not only solar panels but also a thermoelectric generator in which heat from the decay of plutonium-238 will be converted into electrical energy.

URL : http://www.ntsomz.ru/news/news_cosmos/news26072011
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