The new year will also see the liftoff of the biggest, heaviest, and most equipment-laden Mars rover yet. The Mars Science Laboratory
, otherwise known as Curiosity, will act as a rolling geologist, careening across the surface at a brisk 200 yards per day before stopping to take rock samples and conduct on-board chemical analyses. The rover's goal: to find out whether Mars was ever hospitable for microbial life.
Curiosity isn't expected to launch until late in the year, but if you're *ahem* curious, or if you just can't wait that long, there is a webcam
that allows you to watch the rover's construction and testing.