I watched a movie the other night that I had never heard of called "Mission to Mars" with Gary Sinise, Tim Robbins and Don Cheadle. Apparently this movie was released in 2000. It was interesting and somewhat farfetched, or so I thought at the time. It seems it is more realistic than I had imagined. I know we've already landed on Mars but this newest mission to the red planet is a little different in that "Curiosity" is a a robot chemist looking for signs of planet habitability.

Now of course the movie has humans landing on the surface of Mars and meeting alien life but aside from that we are about to set a rover on the surface of Mars for real looking for habitat that could sustain life. This latest NASA adventure seems like it might be right out of a movie scene with what's been described.

The rover is called Curiosity and is set to land on Mars late this Sunday evening, August 5th. It has been in flight to the planet for almost 8 months. To land on the planet the rover, going about 13,000 miles an hour, will have to come to a complete stop in 7 minutes. This makes it quite risky but can bring us invaluable information once there.

The rover and mission are costing 2.5 billion, yes with a"B", dollars. So what is it we will get for that price tag? Engineering experience and new technologies that can be used on earth, not just in space. Crash avoidance technology, radiation hardening of computers, and much more.

I love the fact that we are exploring other planets, maybe we can finally answer the question of whether or not there is other life out there. I hate the fact that our space program to the moon has been put on hold but I love the fact that NASA keeps funding and exploring other avenues in its place. I think in the long run we will benefit greatly from the exploration and technology.

It's strange though to have seen the movie Mission to Mars and now it seems to be actually coming true, well parts of it at least. We still can't send humans to the planet and they probably wouldn't be transported to some other galaxy but it's eerily similar in other ways.

Check out the video of what the rover looks like and how it will operate while on the planet. For more information about the mission see the NASA website.

What are your thoughts about traveling to Mars?