This image shows NASA's Mars Science Laboratory heat shield, and a spacecraft worker at Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver. It is the largest heat shield ever built for descending through the atmosphere of any planet.
This image shows the robotic arm of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity with the first rock touched by an instrument on the arm. The rover placed the APXS instrument onto the rock to assess what chemical elements were present in the rock.
The Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has two rectangular 'eyes' near the top of the rover's remote sensing mast. This image shows Curiosity on a tilt table NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.
Testing of the cruise stage for NASA's Mars Science Laboratory in August 2010 included a session in a facility that simulates the environment found in interplanetary space. Spacecraft technicians at JPL prepare a space-simulation test.
The engineering test model for the radar system that will be used during the next landing on Mars is shown here mounted onto a helicopter's nose gimbal during a May 12, 2010, test at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif.
This artist's concept depicts Curiosity, the rover to be launched in 2011 by NASA's Mars Science Laboratory, as it is being lowered by the mission's rocket-powered descent stage during a critical moment of the 'sky crane' landing in 2012.
The Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera will fly on NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission, launching in late 2011. This photo of the camera was taken before MAHLI's November 2010 installation onto the robotic arm of the mission's Mars rover, Curiosity.
This image taken March 25, 2010 shows preparations for radar testing for NASA's Mars Science Laboratory. This day's work evaluated a setup for suspending a rover mock-up beneath a helicopter at Hawthorne Municipal Airport, Hawthorne, Calif.
This image, taken April 9, 2010, shows the test radar affixed to a gimbal mounting at the front of a helicopter, carrying an engineering test model of the landing radar for NASA's Mars Science Laboratory.
In advance of a testing flight at NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, members of the test team prepare the engineering model of the Mars Science Laboratory descent radar on the nose gimbal of a helicopter. The yellow disks are the radar's antennae.
Camera and robotic-arm maneuvers for taking a self-portrait of the NASA Curiosity rover on Mars were checked first, at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., using the main test rover for the Curiosity.