I've been following this for a good number of years now, also watched the launch (november (2011) and been closely following ever since awith it due to arrive at mars and perform it's landing on August 5th. Anyone else been following this mission? I'm quite excited about it and hope everything goes to plan with the never done before landing.
To find out, the rover will carry the biggest, most advanced suite of instruments for scientific studies ever sent to the martian surface. The rover will analyze samples scooped from the soil and drilled from rocks. The record of the planet's climate and geology is essentially "written in the rocks and soil" -- in their formation, structure, and chemical composition. The rover's onboard laboratory will study rocks, soils, and the local geologic setting in order to detect chemical building blocks of life (e.g., forms of carbon) on Mars and will assess what the martian environment was like in the past.