A new Mars rover, dubbed Curiousity, is being prepared by NASA to search for life on the red planet.

Mars once had ample water, but if there is life there now it is most likely microbial in nature.

The $2.5 billion robot has been in the planning for several years, but it is currently in the news due to the announcement of its destination, Gale Crater — a geologically complex site that once harbored liquid water.

Curiosity is being designed to perform a rocket-controlled precision landing and will be powered by a small nuclear generator. If it survives its landing in August 2012, it is intended to undertake a two-year mission and travel over a distance of about 13 miles.