Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days
August 5th, 2012
04:32 PM ET

Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days

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.

Check out CNN.com/Live and CNN Mobile for live coverage of the Curiosity's landing on Mars, starting at 11:30 p.m. ET Sunday.

Rover to search for clues to life on Mars

Photo gallery: Previous explorations of Mars

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.

Last surviving Enola Gay crew member recalls Hiroshima

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.

Full Olympics coverage

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Filed under: Ahead of the curve
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©™

    I'm very mature and disciplined, but even with a busy day tomorrow, I probably won't be able to sleep during the Mars rover's landing. This is exciting enough to make me a kid again.

    August 5, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  2. It

    Flash gordon all over again cant wait to watch it

    August 5, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  3. s kel

    Hey JIF im excited also. Was looking up on the internet any Mars info. LoL maybe some good NY style cheesecake will be found there., lol.

    August 5, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©™

    @ s kel:
    No, that's the moon. Remember?

    August 5, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  5. banasy©

    Hi, JIF.
    Hi, s kel.
    This is cool.
    I especially love the name "Curiosity".
    Evocative, no?

    August 5, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    $1 Buck says it crashes.

    August 5, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Good Lord, Jeff, I hope not!
      With a 2.5 billion dollar price tag, that would be disastrous, lol!

      August 5, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. saywhat

    I hope it doesn't @Jeff
    This is science fiction stuff .Though the cost does make one cringe in these times.
    Good afternoon all

    August 5, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©™

    C'est vous, Victoria?

    August 5, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  9. saywhat

    What makes the horrible Wisconsin shooting an "act of domestic terrorism" and not others like Tucson,Colorado,Norway etc ?
    We shall have to wait and see.
    My thoughts and prayers are for the victims families.

    August 5, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©™

    Hello saywhat and everybody.
    Just when I put on a pot of coffee to stay up, calls started coming in. I'll be back.

    August 5, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • saywhat

      Good to see you@JI-F.
      Hope everyone is having a good one.

      August 5, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Rascal Rabble

    ...and moses was only wielding a stick when he put the arrogance of science in it's place...lol

    August 5, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©™

    @ Victoria:
    Then it was a troll who wrote to me in French under your name. Sorry.

    August 5, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
  13. @JIF

    That is not Victoria. She has not been on since this morning. That is the lowest form of humanity: the hijacker who is very poor at imitation.

    August 5, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©™

      Merci beaucoup.
      JIF

      August 5, 2012 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Rascal Rabble

    wishful thinking of elistists...need to invest in the stewardship that was handed to humanity as caretakers of earth and caretakers of breathern...your efforts will be mocked for you have abandon your vocations and left the harmed unattended and abandon in the gutters...the most precious resource is earthly life...for whom this world...universe was created...

    August 5, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bonita

      You are babbling, Rascal Rabble. You have not made one ounce of sense. Please explain in terms that a person can understand, and not your own existential way where nonsense reigns.

      August 5, 2012 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hope

      Amen!

      August 5, 2012 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bonita

      Oh that explains it. Thanks.

      August 5, 2012 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©™

    Abandoned?

    August 5, 2012 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      I'm here, dearest JIF.
      One question: Kona?

      August 5, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
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