I'm safely on the surface of Mars. GALE CRATER I AM IN YOU!!!— Curiosity Rover (@MarsCuriosity) August 6, 2012
NASA pulled off its most complicated Mars explorer landing ever, which has been called Seven Minutes of Terror. The Mars Curiosity explorer touched down on the red planet this morning and is already sending back photographs.
This one is terrestrial, showing the jubilation at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory when the successful landing was confirmed.
Curiosity landed at 10:32 p.m. Aug. 5, PDT, (1:32 a.m. EDT Aug. 6) near the foot of a mountain three miles tall and 96 miles in diameter inside Gale Crater. During a nearly two-year prime mission, the rover will investigate whether the region ever offered conditions favorable for microbial life.
"The Seven Minutes of Terror has turned into the Seven Minutes of Triumph," said NASA Associate Administrator for Science John Grunsfeld. "My immense joy in the success of this mission is matched only by overwhelming pride I feel for the women and men of the mission's team."
(Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)