From: United Launch Alliance
Mars Science Laboratory Launch
A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket blasts off from Space Launch Complex-41 at 10:02 p.m. EST with NASA’s Mars Science Lab rover Curiosity. This is ULA’s 11th launch of the year and marked the 56th successful launch for the company in 60 months. After landing on Mars in August 2012, MSL’s prime mission will last one Martian year (nearly two Earth years). Researchers will use the rover’s tools to study whether the landing region has environmental conditions favorable for supporting microbial life.