After nearly nine months of travel, NASA's newest Mars rover is nearing its destination and is set to go about the business of looking for signs of life on the Red Planet.
But it's got to land safely first.
David Udell, president of the Door Peninsula Astronomical Society says that's no small feat.
Not only that, mission controllers will have to endure what's being called "seven minutes of terror" before they know if the 1-ton rover has landed okay. That's because it will take seven minutes for the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft to get from the top of the Mars atmosphere to the surface, but it takes a bit more than 14 minutes for the signal to reach Earth.
Having said that, Udell says he is optimistic a safe landing can be made."I think it's a very difficult landing to be certain but I know that from what I have seen in terms of updates and testing that have been done with regards to this I give it a good shot at being successful," says Udell.
Curiosity is scheduled to land around 12:30 a.m. Monday.
There's a good video about the landing procedure on space.com. You can view it here.
And, as you might imagine, NASA has an exhaustive amount of information on its official mission site.
Images courtesy of NASA