NASA launched the Mars Rover on Saturday and began its 8 month Journey to the red planet. Jon Noel, a science teacher at Mid-Priarie High School says most students don’t start getting excited until information starts coming back from the Mars surface. The rover is much larger than previous rovers, and will be looking for certain minerals and signs of water that could show if microbial life has ever been present on Mars. The rover will collect data with its 12 scientific instruments and seven foot drill arm for at least two years. This is possible because of its nuclear powered battery. The size of the rover means it will have to take a different landing approach to previous rovers. Instead of using airbags, it will be lowered by a tether connected to a jet-pack. This is in part to create a safer landing, but also to test the system astronauts would have to use when landing on the surface of Mars in the future.
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