NASA's Mars Science Lab and Curiosity rover are the next steps in a long-term plan to travel farther and faster into space. Check out this visual tour of the future spacecrafts and tools that will get them there.
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NASA is working with Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), Orbital Sciences, and a half-dozen other companies in development of commercial orbital transportation services to the International Space Station. In the first half of 2011, NASA awarded four contracts as part of its commercial crew development program, including one to SpaceX to develop a launch escape system, a requirement for human transport. Shown here is SpaceX's Falcon 9, a 180-foot launch vehicle that's propelled by liquid oxygen and rocket grade kerosene. Credit: SpaceX