NASA technicians inspect the underside of the Mars Science Laboratory prior to launch. The curiosity rover can be seen at the top of the photograph (Photo: NASA/Glenn Benson)
On Saturday at 10:02 a.m. EST an Atlas V rocket carrying its precious cargo, the Mars Science Laboratory and Curiosity rover, took off successfully from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral. A statement from NASA Project Manager Peter Theisinger confirmed that all had gone according to plan. "The spacecraft is in communication, thermally stable and power positive," he said. "We're on our way to Mars".