Mars rover

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Artists rendering of Curiosity in action

NASA's Mars rover begins a nine-month journey to the mountains See gallery

This artists rendering provided by NASA shows the Mars rover Curiosity.

AP Photo: Damian Dovarganes
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Curiosity rover double

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., second from right, tours NASA's Mars Curiosity double rover at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

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This Aug. 26, 2003 image made available by NASA shows Mars photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope on the planet's closest approach to Earth in 60,000 years.

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Self Portrait of Mars Rover Curiosity

NASA's Curiosity rover used the mars hand lens imager to capture dozens of high-resolution images to be combined into self-portrait images of the rover

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Mars drive

NASA shows the Mars rover Curiosity at a pit stop, a shallow depression called "Yellowknife Bay."  It took the image on the 125th Martian day, or sol, of the mission, Dec. 12, 2012, just after finishing that sol's drive. The Sol 125 drive entered Yellowknife Bay and covered about 86 feet. The descent into the basin crossed a step about 2 feet high, visible in the upper half of this image. Curiosity will now head for Mount Sharp in mid-February after it drills into its first rock.

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Mountain views

A chapter of the layered geological history of Mars is laid bare in this color image from NASA's Curiosity rover showing the base of Mount Sharp, the rover's eventual science destination. The image is a portion of a larger image taken by Curiosity's 100-millimeter Mast Camera on Aug. 23, 2012. Scientists enhanced the color in one version to show the Martian scene under the lighting conditions we have on Earth, which helps in analyzing the terrain. The pointy mound in the center of the image, looming above the rover-sized rock, is about 1,000 feet across and 300 feet high.

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Curiosity Rover

This artist's rendering provided by NASA shows the Curiosity rover on the surface of Mars. NASA announced Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012, it plans to send another Curiosity-like rover to Mars in 2020.

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Close up pictures of rocks

Close up images of rock formations on Mars.