Hot on the heels of the Russion launch, the American's are also launching their newest and greatest missoin to Mars. This mission, the Mars Science Laboratory aka 'Curiosity', is slated for launch on Nov.25th.
Expanding on the fantastically successful Spirit and Opportunity rovers, this will be the largest science platform to ever be launched. That creates some unique challenges when it comes to slowing it down and landing it in Mars' thin atmosphere. Parachutes and landing bags alone aren't enough to slow down this large payload (as big as a Mini Cooper) and so NASA has come up with a very interesting and creative 'sky crane' landing system. This is something that has to be seen to believed, and NASA has posted a fantasticly detailed simulation video of the launch and landing on Mars.
The video is a few minutes long but I encourage you to give it a watch!