Backdropped by the Atlantic Ocean, the 197-foot-tall United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket rolls toward the launch pad at Space Launch Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Atop the rocket is NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), enclosed in its payload fairing. The rocket began its move from the Vertical Integration Facility at 8 a.m. EST, arriving at the launch pad at 8:40 a.m.
Liftoff is planned during a launch window which extends from 10:02 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. EST on Nov. 26. MSL's components include a car-sized rover, Curiosity, which has 10 science instruments designed to search for signs of life, including methane, and help determine if the gas is from a biological or geological source. For more information, visit http://www.nasa.gov/msl. Photo credit: Courtesy Scott Andrews