Although recent US probes to Mars have been very successful there have certainly been a lot of failures in both US and Russian attempts in the past.
However, we all have our fingers crossed for the Curiosity probe which will attempt the landing of a rover on Mars in early August. But the landing itself will be very stressful. There are just so many problems to overcome – not the least the 15 minutes radio messages take to get from Mars to Earth – one way.
I don’t know what odds to bookies place on a successful landing – but after watching this video I don’t think it can be very high.
Still, a lot of people are hoping for success and no doubt we will be able to share the tension, excitement and (hopefully) joys of the NASA engineers involved in real-time on the internet and via Twitter.