NASA’s Curiosity rover landed on Mars late Sunday night, culminating a 36-week flight and set to begin a two-year exploration of the Red Planet.
NASA said Curiosity landed on the Gale Crater, located near a mountain, and will investigate whether Mars has favorable conditions for microbial life.
Administrator Charles Bolden said the landing is a step towards President Obama’s goal of sending humans to Mars by the mid-2030s.
ATK provided NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory with technical support in developing the rover’s 10 instruments.
The company has worked with the agency and the lab during last year’s launch, the flight to Mars, descent to the surface and now will help carry out the mission’s exploration phase.
ATK technologies used on Curiosity include propellant tanks, composite heat shield, descent stage terminal sensor and a thermal subsystem that protects the rover from Mars’ surface environment.
The company has also developed solar panels for NASA’s NuStar satellite for studying X-rays in the universe.
Some of Curiosity’s instruments include laser-firing for elemental composition of Mars rocks, a robotic arm for soil gathering and other analytical laboratory instruments.