A rocket has blasted-off from Cape Canaveral in Florida carrying a new space probe on a nine-month journey to Mars.
‘Curiosity’, as it has been nicknamed, will have to travel 354 million miles to get there.
Its mission is to look for signs of life on the Red Planet.
Doug McCuistion, Director of the Mars Exploration Programme, said the data it sends back should keep his team busy.
“We have started an era… a new era of exploration of Mars with this mission. Not just technologically, but scientifically. I hope we have more work than the scientists can actually handle. Once we get to the surface, I expect them all to be overrun with data that they have never seen before.”
The high-tech car-sized probe, which cost 2.5 billion dollars to make, is due to touch down on August 6 next year and begin two years of detailed analysis of Mars.
Life on Mars probe launched