”Right now, Mars is hundreds of millions of kilometers away, meaning that even at the speed of light, signals take fourteen minutes to get from Earth to Mars. If you do the math, that means that seven minutes after the entire landing process is all finished, back here on Earth we’ll just be getting our first signal that MSL has entered the Martian atmosphere. The upshot of this is that nobody can really do anything to help the rover out: it’s completely on its own from start to finish, relying on hundreds of thousands of lines of code to help it cope with anything that Mars might throw at it.”
Unbelievable. Read more about Curiosity in this IEEE Spectrum article.