Following its launch on 26 November, 2011, Curiosity is scheduled to touch down on 5 August, sometime around 10:30 PM Phoenix time (6 August UTC).
Instead, the Landing of Curiosity on the surface of Mars will be performed by a rocket powered Sky Crane. The initial part of the Entry, Descent and Landing (EDL) will use a 4.5 meter wide aeroshell heat shield that can be steered toward the Gale Crater landing site. About 10 kilometers above the surface, and traveling at mach 2 (1500 meters/second), the main parachute will deploy. At slightly under two (2) kilometers, the Sky Crane will take over, using its eight (8) rocket engines. Just above the surface, four (4) rocket engines will remain thrusting while the MSL is lowered to the surface. The Sky Crane will then accelerate away from the landing site.