-Update 08-06-12: Congrats to the JPL team for nailing what looked like an impossible landing! It was incredible to watch events unfold live on the big screen. If you didn't have a chance to see it check out the replay here which includes cg recreation, and this extended version that stays inside mission control and gives a good sense of the suspense and celebration.-
I'll be down at the JPL/Planetary Society Planetfest in Pasadena this weekend for the Mars Landing, it's fun to be alive in a time when people are sending robots to other planets.
No, mars does not have rings, this is actually an illustration of an interstellar probe visiting Barnards Star, a nearby red dwarf I sketched back in '93, it's all I had handy.
And since we do the occasional science fiction reference here, the recommended read of the week is David Brin's new novel Existence. It's a tour de force of life in 2050 and uniquely solves the Fermi paradox but with the appropriate mystery, threat, thrill and horror of first contact.