NASA’s latest rover, named Curiosity has successfully landed on Mars a few minutes ago. The NASA team members were understandably ecstatic and gleeful as their hard work paid off. The first fruits of their labor arrived in the form of images from Mars.
An artist's depiction of the Curiosity rover on Mars
Using a rocket-powered skycrane, the one-ton rover was lowered onto the Martian surface to begin its two year mission collecting data for research into everything from water on Mars to the planets past life forms.
The NASA employees in the control room celebrate a successful landing.
Doug McCuistion, Director of the Mars Exploration Program for NASA’s Washington Headquarters stated in a recent press release:
“Curiosity is a bold step forward in learning about our neighboring planet, but this mission does not stand alone. It is part of a sustained, coordinated program of Mars exploration. This mission transitions the program's science emphasis from the planet's water history to its potential for past or present life."
It is an exciting time for NASA, and I’m interested to see what comes out of the Curiosity-aided research! The first images from Mars started arriving soon after the Curiosity rover landed, and more should be coming soon. You can find a collection of images from the Curiosity landing on the NASA website.
One of the first images from Mars
PS While the Xbox 360 gamers got a Mars rover landing game for Kinect, PC users can now play around with their own skycrane-delivered rovers in Kerbal Space Program.
UPDATE: Several low resolution images have been posted to the NASA site and can be seen below. Higher resolution images should become available later.
Images courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech