The super-size rover, Curiosity, will reach Mars next summer and use its jackhammer drill, rock-zapping laser machine and other devices to search for evidence that Earth's next-door neighbour might once have been home to the teeniest forms of life.
The robot, Curiosity's 7-foot arm has a jackhammer on the end to drill into the Martian red rock and the 2.1-meter mast on the rover is topped with high-definition and laser cameras. With Mars the ultimate goal for astronauts, NASA will use Curiosity to measure radiation at the red planet. The rover also has a weather station on board that will provide temperature, wind and humidity readings; a computer software app with daily weather updates is planned. No previous Martian rover has been so sophisticated.