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Photos: Watching the Mars Rover Curiosity Blast Off

Curiosity Rover and Atlas 5 Rocket Roll Out

Mike Wall/SPACE.com

NASA's Curiosity Mars rover and its Atlas 5 rocket roll out from Launch Complex 41's Vertical Integration Facility at Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on the morning of Nov. 25, 2011. The rover launched on Nov. 26.

Curiosity Rolls Toward the Launchpad

Mike Wall/SPACE.com

The Curiosity rover and its rocket roll toward the launchpad on Nov. 25, 2011, to prepare for launch a day later.

Curiosity Mars Rover on the Launchpad

Mike Wall/SPACE.com

NASA's Curiosity Mars rover and its Atlas 5 rocket sit on the pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Launch Complex 41 on Nov. 25, 2011.

Closeup of Curiosity Rover and Atlas 5 Rocket

Mike Wall/SPACE.com

A closeup of NASA's Curiosity Rover and its Atlas 5 rocket as they sit on the launchpad on Nov. 25, 2011, a day before lifting off.

Clara Ma with Curiosity

Mike Wall/SPACE.com

Clara Ma, who named the Curiosity rover as a sixth-grader back in 2009, poses with a scale model of the robot and a full-size mockup of one of its wheels at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Nov. 25, 2011. The rover launched a day later.

Curiosity Mars Rover Wheel Mock-up

Mike Wall/SPACE.com

A look at a full-size mockup of one of the Curiosity Mars rover's six wheels. The holes reportedly spell out "JPL" in Morse code; NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory is leading Curiosity's mission. In the background is a model of Gale Crater, Curiosity's landing site.

will.i.am at KSC Press Site Before Curiosity Launch

Mike Wall/SPACE.com

Black-eyed Peas frontman will.i.am (center) watches the launch countdown of NASA's Curiosity Mars rover at the Kennedy Space Center press room on Nov. 26, 2011.

will.i.am, Lori Garver and Leland Melvin at Curiosity Launch Tweetup

Mike Wall/SPACE.com

The Black-eyed Peas' will.i.am (left), NASA deputy administrator Lori Garver and former astronaut Leland Melvin, NASA's associate administrator for education (right), talk at a NASA tweetup just hours before the Curiosity Mars rover's launch on Nov. 26, 2011.

Curiosity Mars Rover Launches

Mike Wall/SPACE.com

NASA's Curiosity Mars rover lifts off the pad at Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Nov. 26, 2011. In the foreground is a tent where NASA held a two-day launch tweetup.

Curiosity Pierces the Clouds

Mike Wall/SPACE.com

Curiosity and its Atlas 5 rocket pierce the clouds as they rise into the Florida sky on Nov. 26, 2011.

Curiosity Rises High into the Sky

Mike Wall/SPACE.com

NaSA's Curiosity Mars rover and its Atlas 5 rocket — barely visible at the top of this photo — streak toward space on Nov. 26, 2011.

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