The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Entry, Descent and Landing Instrumentation (MEDLI) hardware was a first-of-its-kind sensor system that gathered temperature and pressure readings on the MSL heatshield during Mars entry on August 6, 2012. MEDLI began as challenging instrumentation problem, and has been a model of collaboration across multiple NASA organizations. After the culmination of almost 6 years of effort, the sensors performed extremely well, collecting data from before atmospheric interface through parachute deploy. This paper will summarize the history of the MEDLI project and hardware development, including key lessons learned that can apply to future instrumentation efforts. MEDLI returned an unprecedented amount of high-quality engineering data from a Mars entry vehicle. We will present the performance of the 3 sensor types: pressure, temperature, and isotherm tracking, as well as the performance of the custom-built sensor support electronics. A key component throughout the MEDLI project has been the ground testing and analysis effort required to understand the returned flight data. Although data analysis is ongoing through 2013, this paper will reveal some of the early findings on the aerothermodynamic environment that MSL encountered at Mars, the response of the heatshield material to that heating environment, and the aerodynamic performance of the entry vehicle. The MEDLI data results promise to challenge our engineering assumptions and revolutionize the way we account for margins in entry vehicle design.