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Inside Huge Mars Rover's Sky Crane Landing (Infographic)

Curiosity, the latest wheeled vehicle to be sent to explore Mars, is the size of a small car and will use a unique method of landing on the Red Planet.
Curiosity, the latest wheeled vehicle to be sent to explore Mars, is the size of a small car and will use a unique method of landing on the Red Planet. (Image credit: Karl Tate, SPACE.com Contributor)

 

NASA's Mars Science Laboratory, also known as the Curiosity Mars rover, is a huge six-wheeled robot the size of a small car. The nuclear-powered rover won't land using rockets or airbags like past Mars missions. Instead, NASA has built a rocket-propelled sky crane that will hover over the Martian surface and lower the $2.5 billion rover to the Red Planet's surface. 

Learn all about how the Mars rover's landing will work in the SPACE.com infographic above, then check out the following Mars rover mission features.

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Karl Tate
Karl's association with SPACE.com goes back to 2000, when he was hired to produce interactive Flash graphics. Starting in 2010, Karl has been TechMediaNetwork's infographics specialist across all editorial properties.  Before joining SPACE.com, Karl spent 11 years at the New York headquarters of The Associated Press, creating  news graphics for use around the world in newspapers and on the web.  He has a degree in graphic design from Louisiana State University. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Karl on Google+.