If you've been keeping up with NASA's research efforts on Mars, you know that their Opportunity rover is nearing the end of its over seven-year stay on the red planet. But NASA's already gearing up for its next stage of Martian research with Curiosity, the six-wheel-drive, plutonium-powered science lab slated to depart on its nine-month trip to Mars the day after Thanksgiving.

The picture up top shows Curiosity (also known as the Mars Science Laboratory) as it appeared in its fully-deployed configuration last Friday. Since Saturday, however, NASA engineers have been packing the rover down for its trip. So take a good look, everybody — this is probably the last time Curiosity will ever be pictured in this configuration; the next time Curiosity looks like this, it will be millions of miles away, recently landed on the surface of Mars.

To see a stunning depiction of Curiosity breaking Martian atmosphere and landing on the planet's surface, check out our previous post.

via SPACE.com