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Media Detail

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
John F. Kennedy Space Center
Kennedy Space Center, Florida 32899
FOR RELEASE: 10/06/2011
PHOTO NO: KSC-2011-7258
Open Image KSC-2011-7258

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No copyright protection is asserted for this photograph. If a recognizable person appears in this photograph, use for commercial purposes may infringe a right of privacy or publicity. It may not be used to state or imply the endorsement by NASA employees of a commercial product, process or service, or used in any other manner that might mislead. Accordingly, it is requested that if this photograph is used in advertising and other commercial promotion, layout and copy be submitted to NASA prior to release.

PHOTO CREDIT:   CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- NASA or National Aeronautics and Space Administration

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- In the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the fairing acoustic protection (FAP) system lining the inside of the Atlas V payload fairing for NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission comes into view as the fairing is lifted into a vertical position. The FAP protects the payload by dampening the sound created by the rocket during liftoff. The fairing has been uncovered, and preparations are under way to clean it to meet NASA's planetary protection requirements. The fairing will protect the spacecraft from the impact of aerodynamic pressure and heating during ascent. Although jettisoned once the spacecraft is outside the Earth's atmosphere, the fairing must be cleaned to the same exacting standards as the laboratory to avoid the possibility of contaminating it. MSL's components include a compact car-sized rover, Curiosity, which has 10 science instruments designed to search for evidence on whether Mars has had environments favorable to microbial life, including the chemical ingredients for life. The unique rover will use a laser to look inside rocks and release its gasses so that the rover’s spectrometer can analyze and send the data back to Earth. Launch of MSL aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket is planned for Nov. 25 from Space Launch Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. For more information, visit http://www.nasa.gov/msl. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

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