Have you been wondering about the scientific mission? The search for life is getting all the publicity but, let's face it, the chances of success are slim.
What about the other missions? Rebecca Ghent of the Dept. of Earth Sciences at the University of Toronto explains why she's interested in the data that "Curiosity" will collect [Curiosity: planetary science and the latest Mars mission].
One of the things I'm interested in is the physical characteristics of planetary regoliths - the surface layer of broken rock, dust, etc., that covers planetary surfaces. It's important to understand how this layer formed and has evolved, because it holds a record of the geological processes that have occurred on each planet. Mars has a very complex surface geological record involving the actions of wind, volcanism, impact cratering, and possibly, water; so this new information about the composition and physical characteristics of the rocks at the Curiosity landing site will provide valuable new insights into the roles of these various processes in forming Mars' surface rocks.For scientists, the best is yet to come. I hope the science journalists can keep the public focused on the real mission and the importance of the data.