Mars Rover Landing: NASA Rover Curiosity Nears Red Planet (Photos)

Mars Rover Curiosity: Communications Plan

NASA/JPL-Caltech

This artist's still shows how NASA's Curiosity rover will communicate with Earth using two different types of radio signals during its Aug. 5, 2012 landing.

Mars Rover Curiosity: JPL Mission Control

NASA/JPL-Caltech

The Mission Support Area at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., is shown in this panorama, ahead of the Mars rover Curiosity landing. The room will be the hub of activity on Aug. 5, 2012, as mission team members monitor the careful and intricate entry, descent and landing Curiosity on Mars.

Mars Rover Curiosity's Landing Peanuts

collectSPACE.com/Robert Z. Pearlman

A bottle of peanuts, labeled in part "dare mighty things," is ready and waiting for the landing of NASA's Curiosity rover on Mars on Aug. 5, 2012. The peanuts are part of a long-standing tradition at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

Earth vs. Mars: The Mars Mission Scoreboard

NASA/JPL-Caltech

This artist's scoreboard displays a fictional game between Mars and Earth, with Mars in the lead. It refers to the success rate of sending missions to Mars, both as orbiters and landers. Of the previous 39 missions targeted for Mars from around the world, 15 have been successes and 24 failures. For baseball fans, that's a batting average of .385.

Curiosity Mars Rover's Namesake

NASA/Bill Ingalls

Participants at a NASA Social listen as 15-year-old Clara Ma, who at age 12 won the essay contest to name the Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity, reads her winning essay as part of a NASA Social to preview the landing of the rover on Aug. 3, 2012 at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

Mars Rover Heat Shield Explained

NASA/Bill Ingalls

Adam Steltzner, NASA's Mars Science Laboratory entry, descent and landing phase lead, holds a model of the spacecraft during a briefing at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory Aug. 2, 2012 in Pasadena, Calif. The spacecraft will land the 1-ton rover Curiosity on Mars on Aug. 5 PDT. [Related Photos: Mars Rover Nears Red Planet]

Cameras on Mars Rover Curiosity

NASA/JPL-Caltech

This graphic shows the locations of the 17 cameras on NASA's Curiosity rover. The rover's mast features seven cameras. There is one camera on the end of a robotic and nine cameras hard-mounted to the rover, eight for navigation and one for descent imagery.

Mars Rover Curiosity Landing: T-shirt Brigade

NASA/Bill Ingalls

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory intern Payam Banazadeh walks to lunch wearing a Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover t-shirt that was given to all of the JPL interns on Friday, Aug. 3, 2012 in Pasadena, Calif. Curiosity is due to land on Mars at 10:31 p.m. PDT on Aug. 5, 2012

Mars Rover Curiosity Landing: NASA Social

NASA/Bill Ingalls

Ashwin Vasavada, Deputy Project Scientist for Mars Science Laboratory, talks during a NASA Social held to preview the Curiosity rover's landing at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory on Aug. 3, 2012 in Pasadena, Calif.

Mars Rover Curiosity Landing: NASA Social

NASA/Bill Ingalls

Mars rover landing engineers Adam Steltzner, second from left, Steve Lee and Anita Sangupta, right give a briefing during a NASA Social held to preview the landing of the MSL Curiosity rover at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory on Friday, Aug. 3, 2012 in Pasadena, Calif.

Mars Rover Curiosity: Landing Weather Map for

NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

This global map of Mars was acquired on Aug. 2, 2012, by the Mars Color Imager instrument on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Have a news tip, correction or comment? Let us know at community@space.com.