This a a fascinating story of how one particular science package, ChemCam, came to be built and installed on the Mars Curiosity rover.
What you will come away with is the incredible journey an instrument takes from concept, approval, build, installation and operation. I was impressed at the dedication and effort that goes into such a project. For years prior to launch there is a constant struggle for funding and crating the best possible science instrument that can be made.
Don't think for one minute that instruments are built from off the shelf components. Everything is on the bleeding edge of engineering. There is nothing about Curiosity that is ordinary.
When you consider the efforts of the ChemCam team is repeated by every other team that has an instrument on the rover AND the team that built the rover itself AND all the components it took to get it to Mars, I was left wondering how anything actually gets built, flown and operated at all.
Usually the public is let in on the launch and landing days, but there is about a decade of work that has happened before the rocket is launched.