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It’s A Mars Landing For NASA Rover “Curiosity”

Submitted by on August 6, 2012 – 10:18 amNo Comment

Early this morning the $2.6 billion Curiosity rover, made by NASA, successfully landed on Mars to transmit images of the Red Planet back to Earth.

Known as the “seven minutes of terror,” the amazing landing process involves a sky crane and the world’s largest supersonic parachute that allow the spacecraft carrying Curiosity to target the landing area scientists had meticulously chosen.

“The successful landing of Curiosity—the most sophisticated roving laboratory ever to land on another planet—marks an unprecedented feat of technology that will stand as a point of national pride far into the future,” President Barack Obama said in a statement congratulating the NASA employees who had worked on the project.

According to CNN:

The initial images the SUV-sized rover sent back to Earth were black and white and grainy, but one showed its wheel resting on the stony ground and the vehicle’s shadow appeared in another. The spacecraft had been traveling away from Earth since November 26 on a journey of approximately 352 million miles (567 million kilometers) and the aim of its work is “to assess whether Mars ever had an environment able to support small life forms,” NASA says.

Curiosity is supposed to last for two years on Mars, but it may operate longer—after all, Spirit and Opportunity, which arrived on Mars in 2004, were each only supposed to last 90 Martian days. Spirit stopped communicating with NASA in 2010 after getting stuck in sand, and Opportunity is still going.

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