Colloquially called Curiosity for the name of the rover the project sent to the Red Planet, MSL designed it to recover and analyze Martian soil and rock for microbes, small organic compounds, and other signs that would support the idea of past complex life on the surface of Mars. A collaboration with Russia, Spain, and Canada as well as many other countries, this rover is truly an international effort.
Started after the success of the past effort of the Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity, the Mars Science Laboratory was the first to dynamically choose its landing site, utilizing technology that can reorient itself and then choose its landing location with precision. It was able to hover over the desired location and then float Curiosity to the surface using a parachute and a pylon similar to a skycrane that slowly lowered the rover to the area that MSL hoped would best give Curiosity the ability to study the Martian surface.
In the realm of appearance, Curiosity has a very similar structure to its predecessors, such as mounted cameras and instruments on a rectangular base with a set of six metal wheels, built for durability. It makes all of its own chemical analyses on-site and so then can send back all of its readings to Earth.