Saturday, November 19, 2011

NASA's Mars mission delayed a day.

The launch of the nation's next Mars explorer, Curiosity, was delayed a day until Saturday, Nov. 26.

The 24-hour delay will allow a team to remove and replace a flight termination system battery on the Atlas V rocket that will hoist the Mars Science Laboratory to space, NASA said Saturday.

The new launch window opens at 10:02 a.m. and runs through 11:45 a.m. Nov. 26 at Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The Mars Science Laboratory, which would reach the red planet in August, is the centerpiece of a $2.5 billion mission aimed at determining whether the fourth planet from the sun is, or ever was, habitable. Its 10 instruments will be used to search for carbonaceous compounds know as "organics."

Life on Earth arises whenever an environment contains water, an energy source, such as the sun, and organic material. Scientists know Mars once was awash with water. The discovery of organics would show the Martian environment could support life -- or could have in the past.

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