Great news for the science community, space enthusiasts and the future of humanity, Curiosity, the latest NASA rover, landed on Mars. Even though gas prices won't change this technological achievement needs to be marked in the calendar, at east till humans actually walk on the red planet. I am following the space developments from all major players in this game, I wish I could say I am amazed with the speed of these developments, the reality is that at least from my perspective we waste great sums of money on military equipment instead of investing in space exploration and innovations. I'm not naive, the main reason science is supported by governments in the first place is because of the potential killing/destroying effectiveness of any scientific development.
August 6, 2012 was the big day when all those who worked and still work on the mission held their breath, constantly checking and analyzing data. Although our achievements pale in comparison to the beauty of the Universe, it was nonetheless a great moment and we should be proud of the great minds that are the fathers and mothers of Curiosity. One could ask what is so extraordinary in sending a rover on Mars, humans did that already. We should know that missions to Mars have a predisposition to go wrong (although things had improved with time), just remember the disaster of Fobos-Grunt and Yinghuo-1 which were launched at the end of last year but burned up in Earth's atmosphere at the beginning of 2012.
This rover has all the latest technology built in it, the landing mechanism was revolutionary, I mean a sky crane is pure science fiction turned science reality, but that's not all. The sensors and cameras will offer excellent info to both scientists and the general public.
Curiosity is nuclear powered (radioisotope thermoelectric generator) which gives it great autonomy on the dusty Martian surface (previous probes and rovers accumulated dust on the solar panels). It's mass is 899 kg and has 2.9 meters in length while the width is 2.7 and the height 2.2 meters. The maximum speed will be of 90 meters per hour. The on-board computer is also greatly improved from previous missions which means greater processing power and much more and better images, to be expected are also some video footages from Mars, that would be exciting.
MSL official site: http://mars.nasa.gov/msl/