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NASA Curiosity Probe Makes Historic Landing on Mars, Beams Back Photos: VIDEO


NASA's probe 'Curiosity' completed its trip to Mars, landing on the red planet at approximately 1:30 am ET last night:

NasaThe robotic lab sailed through space for more than eight months, covering 352 million miles (566 million km), before piercing Mars' atmosphere at 13,000 miles per hour -- 17 times the speed of sound -- before starting its descent.

Moments after landing, Curiosity beamed back its first three images from the Martian surface, one of them showing a wheel of the vehicle and the rover's shadow cast on the rocky terrain.

The probe and its supersonice parachute, backpack, and 'sky crane' survived a complex sequence of events that scientists had dubbed the "seven minutes of terror" before setting down in the Gale Crater beside a mountain on the Martian surface.

Scientists rejoiced upon learning of their success.

Here's a liveblog from the Guardian chronicling last night's sequence of events.

The rover's full condition is yet unknown, but it did beam back a series of photographs, two of which contained images of its own wheel (above), and shadow (below).

More images here.

Watch Al Jazeera's report on the landing, and NASA's news conference, AFTER THE JUMP...


Mission control:

News conference:

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  1. I'm trying to figure out what makes this Historic when its the 4th Mars Rover. Sojourner back in 1997 anyone? I'll be more impressed when a human sets foot on Mars

    Posted by: Stephen | Aug 6, 2012 6:56:28 AM

  2. After all this time, all we get is a grainy black and white foto of a shadow and some sand?

    Posted by: Hector | Aug 6, 2012 7:02:29 AM

  3. Seriously? We just landed a nuclear powered robot with a jet propelled sky crane on a dime on another planet and you queens are hating? It's a stunning exciting achievement.

    Posted by: Tim | Aug 6, 2012 7:34:03 AM

  4. I saw the animation of a simulated landing and it was fascinating. They're cheering because when the first dusty photos were transmitted after landing (the pics will clear up) they had passed about 1,000 things that could have gone wrong.

    Posted by: MarkUs | Aug 6, 2012 8:04:38 AM

  5. This is all good and well, but...

    Why aren't we colonizing the moon yet?

    This is the biggest mistep NASA ever made, not repeated lunar visits, labs, launch stations, etc. ON THE MOON!

    We should already be taking vacations there and launching Mars probes (much easier, very little propulsion needed) from there.

    Let's all watch as China does this and then claims ownership of the moon and nobody can do anything about it.

    Posted by: johnny | Aug 6, 2012 8:14:14 AM

  6. I believe there are Martians living below the surface. They are our ancient ancestors and were left behind when they sent their colonizers to the Earth.

    Posted by: Hector | Aug 6, 2012 8:24:32 AM

  7. @tim, bitchy queens are what you can generally expect in the comments section on this site. Bitter old bitchy queens. It is very disheartening. I don’t even know why I bother reading them anymore.

    Posted by: Rick Roberts | Aug 6, 2012 8:33:21 AM

  8. If the astronauts were more manly we'd probably be living on the moon now.

    Posted by: Rick | Aug 6, 2012 9:30:41 AM

  9. I love all the comments about living on the moon. We can't live on the moon, geniuses. Our bodies would be ravaged from lack of gravity.

    Posted by: Michelle | Aug 6, 2012 10:31:28 AM

  10. Johnny, we're not colonizing the moon because Newt Gingrich ended his campaign.

    Posted by: DeeVee | Aug 6, 2012 11:15:25 AM

  11. The Chinese are just now accomplishing what we did a generation ago. And people are complaining that the US does have warp drive and transporters. And what do we get for 'colonizing' the Moon at 100 times the price of an ounce of gold? Would you buy a titanium frying pan for $5 million?

    Posted by: chuck | Aug 6, 2012 1:39:01 PM

  12. Sorry...typo...does NOT have warp drives and transporters

    Posted by: chuck | Aug 6, 2012 1:40:05 PM

  13. Whew! I'm very glad I was wrong and the thing landed safely. If you watch the whole video of the landing, you can tell they were very nervous at NASA.

    I didn't quite understand the "USA, USA!" ranting by NASA officials in the press conference. Were they told by the Obama administration to play up the nationalism for some reason? It was getting ridiculous.

    China is planning on exploiting the moon, probably for minerals, but colonizing the moon isn't easy. There is a bit of a space race going on now regarding the moon.

    Posted by: anon | Aug 6, 2012 2:35:01 PM

  14. ANON: Obama made them cheer? Really? REALLY? Obama! Were they threatened with death if they didn't cheer? Perhaps you're confusing the US with North Korea.

    Posted by: Anastasia Beaverhausen | Aug 6, 2012 3:40:31 PM

  15. Jonny, China can not claim ownership of the moon due to the Outer Space Treaty of 1967. This was signed and ratified by the US, China, and Russia (the biggest space explorers), as well as hundreds of other countries. Frankly, we should be encouraging other countries to join in space exploration because it will be a lot easier and faster if we do this together rather than everyone relying on NASA which shamefully has an ever decreasing budget.

    Posted by: Matt | Aug 6, 2012 4:28:46 PM

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