NASA blast off the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) earlier this day. The MRO was lifted into space on a Atlas V rocket and will reach Mars within seven months.
"Surveying for the deepest insights into the mysterious evolution of Mars!" NASA commentator George Diller said after liftoff. The launch came just three days after space shuttle Discovery completed its mission.
The launch had been delayed 24 hours after engineers saw an anomalous reading in the hydrogen propellant loading system on the Atlas V. There was insufficient time in the launch window to fully investigate the reading.
MRO has six scientific instruments to study Martian weather, resolve objects on the surface the size of a kitchen table and to measure the planet's composition and atmospheric structure with more detail than ever before. More details at Space