Nasa scientists have given more details about their Mars mission which is searching for life beyond Earth.
The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), a wheeled rover nicknamed Curiosity, is due to arrive on the Red Planet on August 6.
If it touches down safely, scientists expect to have around two years to collect information about Mount Sharp and the surrounding area.
Mount Sharp is a mountain in the centre of Gale Crater, which is one of the lowest places on the island.
Its name pays tribute to geologist Robert P Sharp (1911-2004), a founder of planetary science, influential teacher of many current leaders in the field, and team member for Nasa's first few Mars missions.
Nasa hopes to land the rover on a flat surface as close as possible to the base of the mountain using a first-of-a-kind, rocket-powered sky crane.
The exact landing spot will depend on the craft's final steering manoeuvres as it races toward Mars.
The planet, which is about 1.5 times as far away from the sun as Earth, is a cold, dry and acidic desert today.
Mars programme director Doug Mccuistion said the landing was not without its risks.
"Is it crazy? Well, not so much. Once you get comfortable, once you understand it, it's not a crazy concept. It works. Is it risky? Landing on Mars is always risky.
"There are hundreds of discreet events that occur from release of the cruise stage to parachute deployments to heat shield deployments.
"All of these are unique and any one could cause problems. We go from 13,000 miles an hour to zero in seven minutes. That's quite a challenge in itself. And then there's the unknown. There's Mars. Mars throws things at you. Dust storms, atmospheric density changes, wind. So it's a very unique and a very challenging environment," he said.
Rather than hunt for microbes like the Viking missions of the 1970s, Nasa's MSL will look for places that could have hosted and preserved life.