The phases of the mission include:
- Pre-launch Activities: Preparation for the mission, including landing site selection, assembly and testing, and delivery to Cape Canaveral
- Launch: Lift-off from Earth
- Cruise: Voyage through space
- Approach: Nearing the red planet Mars
- Entry, Descent, and Landing: Journey through the martian atmosphere to the surface
- First Drive: After landing when engineers first conduct tests to ensure the rover is in a "safe state"
- Surface Operations: Learning about Mars through the day-to-day activities of the rover