NASA's Mars Science Laboratory may not be landing on the red planet until August 2012, but the space agency has released an animated video of the mission allowing all space enthusiasts to watch those dramatic event.
The 11-minute long animation shows sequences such as the spacecraft separating from its launch vehicle near Earth and the mission's rover, Curiosity, zapping rocks with a laser and examining samples of powdered rock on Mars, NASA said.
The animation provides detailed views of the spacecraft. Based on stereo images taken by earlier missions, the animation also provides scenes of real places on Mars.
The animation also provides an exciting view of this mission for any fan of adventure and exploration, said Mars Science Laboratory Project Manager Pete Theisinger at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.
Curiosity will land on Mars in August next year for a two-year mission. It will examine the landing area to determine whether the conditions there have been favorable for microbial life and whether life has ever existed there.
Here is the video with a shorter narration.