Pasadena, CA -
NASA's newest rover, Curiosity, is expected to land on Mars tonight at 10:31pm pacific time in our continued search to what happened to Mars' water.
The rover Curiosity cost $2.5 billion and is the size of an automobile, by far the largest rover NASA has sent to Mars so far.
"It's a big science goal. We're not just looking for water anymore," said California Institute of Technology geologist John Grotzinger, the lead mission scientist.
After considering hundreds of landing sites using high-resolution images taken by orbiting satellites, Gale Crater's Mount Sharp was selected. Mount Sharp is the central mound inside of the crater and consists of sediment layers over 3 miles high, taller than the rim of the crater itself.
Curiosity is on a two year mission on Mars in search of where the water believed to have existed on Mars went, improved geological understandings of the planet and how Mount Sharp came to exist, since nothing on earth is like that.
"We have the opportunity to start in the past, rove up the surface of Mount Sharp and come through time to see how the environments have changed," said Michael Meyer, NASA's Mars exploration program scientist.