I am always trying to encourage people to Stay Curious. Sure, I can give you information (and will be happy to), but often it is better for people to be curious about something and discover answers for themselves. However, many folks are out of the habit of being curious, so I will help prod you a bit. I ask you, why should this NASA photo of the Atlas V rocket which launched on Sat., 11/26, make you curious?
Curiosity Rover Lifts Off for Mars (Image Credit: NASA)
What are those billowy clouds coming out from the rocket? It’s not smoke!
Why are the booster rockets on the side asymetrical? There are four. Why aren’t they evenly placed around the main rocket?
What are those towers around the rocket? Why are they taller than the rocket?
What is that “train” track in the foreground?
Do you know what is inside the rocket? Where is the payload? How does it get out?
Hints to help you:
This rocket launched off SLC 41 (that may help you get information about the launchpad configurations)
The group responsible for the rocket was the United Launch Alliance
Here’s a link to the Astronomy Picture of the Day, where the photo was highlighted on Wed, Nov 30th. Read the caption there and you will find links to several aspects of the launch and mission.