NASA rejoiced this morning as the one-ton Mars Science Laboratory touched down on the Red Planet.
The team behind the mission waited with baited breath during what was dubbed '7 minutes of hell' as the rover descended through the Martian atmosphere and utilized its new 'sky crane' mechanism to land on the surface. Jubilation erupted when shortly afterwards a signal was received indicating that everything had gone to plan and that the rover was on the ground in full working order. A low resolution image was received a short time later from one of the rover's hazard cameras showing its shadow cast upon the Martian soil.
"Today, the wheels of Curiosity have begun to blaze the trail for human footprints on Mars. Curiosity, the most sophisticated rover ever built, is now on the surface of the Red Planet, where it will seek to answer age-old questions about whether life ever existed on Mars -- or if the planet can sustain life in the future," said NASA administrator Charles Bolden. "This is an amazing achievement, made possible by a team of scientists and engineers from around the world and led by the extraordinary men and women of NASA and our Jet Propulsion Laboratory. President Obama has laid out a bold vision for sending humans to Mars in the mid-2030's, and today's landing marks a significant step toward achieving this goal."
"NASA's most advanced Mars rover Curiosity has landed on the Red Planet."
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