NASA launched a unique Mars rover, Curiosity, on Saturday to search for traces of life on the Red Planet.
“Today's launch caps a very smooth countdown and generally cooperative weather at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex 41,” the administration said.
The ascent continues to go very well as the Atlas V and MSL head for space.
Engineers have received data from the MSL showing that all systems are operating normally.
The MSL has separated from the rocket that boosted it toward Mars and has sent a signal to Earth.
The 1-ton rover is the centerpiece of NASA's $2.5 billion Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission.
The rover is to spend two Earth years on the surface of Mars searching for evidence of the elements of life and factors such as surface radiation that can limit life.