NASA's Curiosity rover, carried by the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) spacecraft, will land near the Martian equator at approximately 10:31 p.m. PDT on Aug. 5, (1:31 a.m. EDT on Aug. 6).
When I was teaching , I imagined teaching two semesters of what was then called the Integration of Physics and Chemistry (IPC) to my students with a theme of Martian Exploration. Started a blog to capture information for that project: http://themissionismars.blogspot.com/ . You are reading that blog here.
Yes, I was hoping that one of the missions might find life on the Red Planet. That child hood dream is a bit faded now: the more we have learned with our actual Martian Exploration, the less likely it seems that we will find any signs of life on Mars in my waning life time.
We still might find a microbial life form in some relatively warm wet spot on Mars... or beneath the surface, but I have come to believe that we humans will become the Martians, as in Ray Bradbury's (http://www.raybradbury.com/about.html) THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES. We, humans will move out across the Solar System as in Ben Bova's (http://www.benbova.net/) Grand Tour books; and colonize and explot the Moon with Robert A. Heinlein's (http://www.heinleinsociety.org/rah/index.htm) private enterprise model... and we will reach and transform Mars itself as in Kim Stanley Robinson's MARS TRILOGY (http://kimstanleyrobinson.info/w/index.php5?title=Mars_trilogy).
But I getting ahead of the news... http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/index.html