Update: 9:30 a.m. August 6, 2012.
NASA's Rover landed safely on Mars at 1:32 a.m. according to news reports. Its exact location has not been determined but is in the general area it was expected to land.
"NASA said it came to rest in its planned landing zone near the foot of a tall mountain rising from the floor of a vast impact basin called Gale Crater, in Mars' southern hemisphere," according to a report on Reuters.com.
The rover, which is roughly the size of an automobile, will spend "the next two years exploring Gale Crater and an unusual 3-mile- (5 km-) high mountain consisting of what appears to be sediments rising from the crater's floor," according to Reuters' report.
Mars Rover Curiosity is almost at the end of its trip to Mars and, according to NASA, is in the final states of preparing to entry. The landing time is 10:31 p.m. PDT Aug. 5 (1:31 a.m. Aug. 6 on the East Coast). Enthusiasts can tune in for the live broadcast of the landing. The mission is reportedly not specifically to find life, but it is likely to reveal evidence that could point to that possibility.
By all accounts from NASA, everything is on schedule to the looming Mars landing. In the last report by 1 p.m. Aug 5, NASA officials gave the following update on it’s website:
With Mars looming ever larger in front of it, NASA's Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft and its Curiosity rover are in the final stages of preparing for entry, descent and landing on the Red Planet at 10:31 p.m. PDT Aug. 5 (1:31 a.m. EDT Aug. 6). Curiosity remains in good health with all systems operating as expected. Today, the flight team uplinked and confirmed commands to make minor corrections to the spacecraft's navigation reference point parameters. This afternoon, as part of the onboard sequence of autonomous activities leading to the landing, catalyst bed heaters are being turned on to prepare the eight Mars Lander Engines that are part of MSL's descent propulsion system. As of 2:25 p.m. PDT (5:25 p.m. EDT), MSL was approximately 261,000 miles (420,039 kilometers) from Mars, closing in at a little more than 8,000 mph (about 3,600 meters per second).