PASADENA (CBS) — The scientists at Jet Propulsion Laboratory are getting ready for Mars rover Curiosity’s Aug. 5 landing.

The 1-ton rover is the centerpiece of NASA’s $2.5 billion mission, which launched in late November.

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If the rover survives a very complicated parachute and skycrane landing, it will search for evidence of life, KNX 1070’s John Brooks reports.

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Hundreds have worked for years to make this mission happen.

“We have about 300 or 400 engineers working on the project and we have another 400 science team members,” Mission Manager Michael Watkins said. “They’re going to join us as soon as we land.”

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Curiosity has six legs and one arm and rides around on metal wheels. The rover, powered by plutonium, will be able to pick up, digest and analyze the remains of Martian rocks.