NASA’s Curiosity Rover Lands on Mars, First Image Received
By Abusidiqu. Additional information from Reuters and ABC
NASA’s $2.5 billion Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover has landed on the surface of the red planet following an eight month, 352-million-mile journey. NASA says it received a signal from the Curiosity rover after a plunge through the Martian atmosphere described as “seven minutes of terror.”
The Curiosity beamed back its first images from the Martian surface moments after a make-or-break landing to begin a two-year search for evidence that the Red Planet once harbored the ingredients necessary for life to evolve.
Adam Steltzner, team leader for the entry, descent and landing of Curiosity, said that as the ship was in the planning stages and then heading to Mars, he found himself waking up in the middle of the night, thinking about the sequence of events that would have to go perfectly.
“The big trick is you are going 13,000 miles an hour,” he said. “You slam into the Martian atmosphere and you want to gracefully get the spacecraft down sitting quietly on the surface on her wheels, and all of that takes different changes in the configuration of the vehicle, 79 events that must occur.”
“I can’t believe this. This is unbelievable,” said Allen Chen, the deputy leader of the team, as the first three pictures of the rocky terrain, one of them showing a wheel of the vehicle, arrived at mission control.
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