MSL: How Big Is It?

Mike Deliman Photo

I’ve been asked here and there “Just how big is this MSL thing?”

It’s a question I can give several answers to, depending on what the asker means.  In physical terms, you could ride on it.  Here is a good example…in this photo of a worker and MSL, you can see the cruise shell is large enough to house a small couch with more than one person sitting on it.  The rover itself is quite large, I’d imagine good comparisons would be something on the order of a ride-on tractor-mower.

But that isn’t really the only answer.  In scientific terms, this is huge.  This rover is a well-equipped geological laboratory on wheels.  It carries equipment every high-school and university would be proud to have available.  Laser spectrometer, chemical analyzers, close-up and long-distance cameras, not to mention an advanced autonomous robot running it all.  Any of these tools would be excellent for investigating or teaching/learning about the earth.

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