Come Monday there may be an amazing new robotic explorer on Mars or there may be a new pile of junk. It all likely depends on many things going correctly in the minutes after the Mars Science Laboratory mission arrives at Mars and attempts to deploy the Curiosity rover from orbit. These "Seven Minutes of Terror" -- depicted in the above dramatic video -- will begin on Monday, August 6 at about 5:24 am Universal time. If successful, the car-sized Curiosity rover will rest on the surface of Mars, soon to begin exploring Gale Crater.
source: data archive