In some sense, the Mars Science Laboratory rover's parts are similar to what any living creature would need to keep it "alive" and able to explore.

The rover has a:

Body: a structure that protects the rovers' "vital organs"
Brains: computers to process information
Eyes and other "senses": cameras and instruments that give the rover information about its environment
Arm and "hand": a way to extend its reach and collect rock samples for study
Wheels and "legs": parts for mobility
Energy: batteries and power
Communications: antennas for "speaking" and "listening"
Temperature controls: internal heaters, a layer of insulation, and more
"Neck and head": a mast for the cameras to give the rover a human-scale view


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Fast Facts

Mission name: Mars Science Laboratory
Rover name: Curiosity
Size: About the size of a small SUV — 10 feet long (not including the arm), 9 feet wide and 7 feet tall — (about 3 meters long (not including the arm), 2.7 meters wide, and 2.2 meters tall), or about the height of a basketball player.
Arm reach: About 7 feet (2.2 meters)
Mass/Weight: 899 kg (1,982 lbs in Earth gravity; 743 lbs in Mars gravity)
Features: Geology lab, rocker-bogie suspension, rock-vaporizing laser and lots of cameras
Mission: To search areas of Mars for past or present conditions favorable for life, and conditions capable of preserving a record of life
Launched: 7:02 a.m. PST, Nov. 26, 2011 (10:02 a.m. EST)
Landed: 10:32 p.m. PDT, Aug. 5, 2012 (1:32 a.m. EDT, Aug. 6, 2012)
Length of mission on Mars: The prime mission lasted one Mars year or about 23 Earth months, and Curiosity continues to operate on Mars today.
Mission Fact sheet: Download the Mars Science Laboratory Fact Sheet (PDF, 1.44 MB)