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NASA's Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft will land Curiosity, a rover equipped with 10 instruments designed to assess past and future habitability of the Red Planet. Image courtesy of NASA/JPL On Nov. 26, NASA launched the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft to deliver a car-sized rover to the surface of the Red Planet in August 2012. The MSL mission is to assess past and present habitability of Mars. Positioned in the near the center of the rover, the Southwest Research Institute-led Radiation Assessment Detector is about the size of a coffee can and will characterize a key influence on life, the planet's radiation environment.