I was impressed with how flawless Sunday's EDL operation went with Curiosity. I must admit I was very engaged and sitting on the edge of my seat hoping that it would go smoothly. And it did! A big hats off to the JPL crew. They did their homework, and it paid off. Now let us hope that Curiosity discovers some interesting things and paves the way for more missions and funding into exploration.
That being said, I do not think sending humans to Mars is really smart just yet. I know as Humans we want to see ourselves stand on something or touch something. It helps make it more real for us. But in this case I believe that a trip to Mars is basically a death sentence. The simple fact that there is no oxygen in relative supply, the extreme cold, and the lack of magnetic field leading to increased exposure to deadly solar radiation.
Personally I think we should be transporting plants and micro organisms which can survive there, and planting them in gardens using rovers. There is a lot of groundwork that rovers can do long before humans should even think about visiting there.
We would likely be wiser to think about probing Europa as it does have a molten magnetic core and a thin Oxygen atmosphere. And the possibility of liquid water under the ice. I think if humanity ever needed a backup plan, it would be safer to rely on an underwater colony on Europa, then on a colony on Mars.
Just something to think about.