The NASA Curiosity rover, the most advanced robot ever to be sent to another world, lands on the surface of Mars.
The key objective of the mission, which will last for two years, is to determine whether microbial life ever existed on the Red Planet. The previous existence of life on the planet could be proven by the discovery of indicators of water, sources of energy or sources of carbon.
The rover was launched by Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) from Florida's Cape Canaveral on November 26, 2011. It will land in Gale Crater, which scientists believe held water billions of years ago.
According to NASA scientists, landing the car-sized rover will not be an easy task. As Doug McCuistion, the director of the Mars Exploration Program, commented the operation, "Is it crazy? Not so much. Is it risky? Landing on Mars is always risky. [...] Every landing is unique. Every landing is like a first."
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