Terry Renna / AP
A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover lifts off on Saturday.
The car-size Curiosity rover was lofted into space at 10:02 a.m. ET from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at the end of a smooth countdown. Curiosity is the centerpiece of NASA's $2.5 billion Mars Science Laboratory mission.
The 1-ton rover weighs about five times more than each of its immediate Mars rover predecessors, the golf-cart-size twins Spirit and Opportunity, which landed on the Red Planet in 2004 to look for evidence of past water activity. [Photos: Last Look at Curiosity Rover]
NASA sends its Mars rover toward the Red Planet.