At 10:30 p.m. PDT on Aug. 5, the one-ton, $2.5 billion Curiosity rover is scheduled to touch down on Mars, in what experts are calling a risky landing.
The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover is scheduled to touch down on Mars at 10:30 p.m. PDT on Aug. 5 (1:30 a.m. Aug. 6 EDT, 0530 GMT). The car-size robotic explorer is designed to investigate whether Mars is, or ever was, capable of hosting microbial life.
With six days to go until Curiosity arrives at the Red Planet, project managers are bracing themselves for what NASA calls the riskiest part of the mission: the rover's harrowing descent through the Martian atmosphere to the ground.
"The Curiosity landing is the hardest NASA robotic mission ever attempted in the history of exploration of Mars, or any of our robot exploration," Grunsfeld said.