To contribute to the four science goals and meet its specific goal of determining Mars' habitability, Mars Science Laboratory has the following science objectives.

    Biological objectives:

    1. Determine the nature and inventory of organic carbon compounds

    2. Inventory the chemical building blocks of life (carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorous, and sulfur)

    3. Identify features that may represent the effects of biological processes

    Geological and geochemical objectives:

    1. Investigate the chemical, isotopic, and mineralogical composition of the martian surface and near-surface geological materials

    2. Interpret the processes that have formed and modified rocks and soils

    Planetary process objectives:

    1. Assess long-timescale (i.e., 4-billion-year) atmospheric evolution processes

    2. Determine present state, distribution, and cycling of water and carbon dioxide

    Surface radiation objective:

    1. Characterize the broad spectrum of surface radiation, including galactic cosmic radiation, solar proton events, and secondary neutrons