By August 10, 2005

Mars probe launch delayed

Todays launch of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has had to be postponed after the discovery of problems with the Atlas V launch rocket.

The launch is now scheduled for tomorrow morning at 1135 GMT from Launch Complex 41, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and is the first government launch of Lockheed Martin’s Atlas V launch vehicle. The orbiter will study Mars to understand the planet’s water riddles and to advance the exploration of the mysterious red planet.

The probe will investigate the history of water on Mars and hunt for landing sites for future manned missions.

The delay comes one day after Nasa celebrated the successful return to Earth of the space shuttle Discovery.

The new Mars orbiter cost over $500m (£280m) to build and is due to arrive in Mars’ orbit in March 2006, for a 25-month mission.

Matt

(Image Credit: Nasa/KSC)

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