Roamy here. Curiosity, a.k.a. the Mars Science Laboratory, will be launched sometime in late November or early December. XBrad and smart commenters like Quartermaster have been talking about evolutionary rather than revolutionary design changes. I thought this was an excellent picture, showing the evolution of the Mars rovers.
The little one in front is a model of the Mars Pathfinder rover named Sojourner. Sojourner was launched in 1996; you may remember it landing on Mars on July 4, 1997. Looks like a RC car compared to the others.
The left rover is a Mars Exploration Rover model. These are the Spirit and Opportunity rovers, which were launched in 2003 and landed on Mars in 2004. A recently released video shows the 13-mile journey between Victoria Crater and Endeavour Crater, which took 3 years for the rover to travel.
The monster rover on the right is the Mars Science Laboratory. It looks like a Hummer compared to the others, but it’s actually the size of a Mini Cooper and weighs nearly a ton. It will land using an aeroshell, 8 rocket thrusters, and a parachute capable of being deployed at Mach 2.2, rather than airbags. I did a very small amount of work on the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera.
More on all the scientific instruments as we get closer to launch.
Ready to roll!