NASA and JPL have a lander en route to Mars. It launched last August and is due to reach Mars in just a few days.

When it approaches Mars, it will be traveling around 12,500 miles per hour. It has to slow down and land pretty quickly. JPL has a cool video describing this process of "Entry Descent Landing". (It's just a few minutes long.)

My favorite part: it will take about 10 minutes for a signal to get from Mars to Earth, while the whole Entry Descent Landing will take about 7 minutes. So there's to be basically no remote control during the process; by the time controllers on Earth get the signal that it's begun, Pheonix will have completed the whole thing. And will be safely on the Martian surface. Everybody hopes.