Here is a look at some of the stories that CNN plans to follow this week:
Stay up for Mars rover’s big moment
With just hours to go, the viability of a highly anticipated mission to Mars comes down to a critical seven minutes, when the Curiosity rover attempts to make a difficult and unprecedented landing.
NASA’s $2.5 billion rover, which scientists hope will let them finally understand whether Mars does or could ever have sustained life, is scheduled to land at 1:31 a.m. ET Monday. Because scientists elected to land the car-size rover in tricky spot – a mountain-containing crater that experts think might have once had water – the landing will be a piece of drama for Curiosity watchers. The world’s largest supersonic parachute and a jetpack-like device will be some of the tools scientists use in the attempt.
Plea deal may come in Giffords shooting
A U.S. Attorney's Office says it isn't confirming or denying reports that the man accused of killing six people and wounding then-U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in a shooting rampage last year will plead guilty on Tuesday.
On Saturday night, the Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal reported that Jared Loughner, 23, is now mentally competent to understand the charges against him and that a status hearing on his competency, scheduled for Tuesday morning, will now be a change-of-plea hearing.
Loughner was facing the possibility of a death sentence if convicted in the January 8, 2011, shooting in Tucson, Arizona. However, a plea deal – if one is in the works – may mean that he would admit guilt in exchange for a lengthy prison sentence.
Among those killed in the attack was Arizona's chief federal judge, John Roll. Giffords, who was shot in the head, stepped down from her position in Congress in January 2012 to focus on her recovery. Ron Barber, one of 13 people who were wounded but survived, now holds the seat.
Tropical Storm Ernesto approaches Honduras, Gulf
Tropical Storm Ernesto, poised to drop heavy rain on Jamaica on Sunday, could do the same to Honduras on Monday and has the potential to become a Category 1 hurricane in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico late this week, the National Hurricane Center says.
A tropical storm watch is in effect for Honduras' coast. A forecast track shows the storm could cross Belize and the Yucatan Peninsula on Wednesday, and possibly strengthen into a low-level hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico by Friday.
Heavy fighting between Syrian rebels, government forces
The battle for Syria's commercial capital of Aleppo shows every sign of continuing into this week, with fighting between rebels and government forces raging near the city center on Sunday, according to opposition activists.
Also this week, expect to hear more about 48 Iranians who the Syrian government says were abducted by "terrorists" near Damascus last week. The Iranian government is an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but it's not clear whether the abductions were linked to the uprising against the Syrian government.
Syrian rebels claim the Iranians were military personnel, which Iran denies. Iran says the 48 are Shiite pilgrims and is asking Turkey to step in to help free the pilgrims, according to IRNA, Tehran's state media.
Truman grandson visits Nagasaki 67 years after bombing
As Japan marks 67 years after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the country is receiving its first post-World War II visit by a member of former U.S. President Harry Truman's family.
Truman grandson Clifton Truman Daniel attended a commemoration ceremony in Hiroshima over the weekend and will do the same in Nagasaki on Thursday. Harry Truman authorized the attacks that preceded Japan's World War II surrender.
Plenty of medals left at the Olympics
There's a lot to like in the last week of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, including individual event finals for men's and women's gymnastics. Will 39-year-old Bulgarian Iordan Iovtchev claim a medal in rings in his sixth Olympics on Monday? And can all-around women's champ Gabby Douglas add to her gold tally in Monday's uneven bars and Tuesday's beam finals?
In women's beach volleyball, the team of two-time gold medalists Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor will look to end its Olympic career on top, with semifinals taking place on Tuesday. And on the track, most of the events are to come this week, including the men's 400 meters, in which South Africa's Oscar Pistorius - the Olympics' first double amputee runner - failed to qualify Sunday night for Monday night's final.