Curiosity is on the ground.
Did that astonshingly Rube Goldberg-looking set of devices work?
Here’s the news, from NBC’s science editor Alan Boyle:
PASADENA, Calif. — After eight years of planning and eight months of interplanetary travel, NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory pulled off a touchdown of Super Bowl proportions, all by itself. It even sent pictures from the goal line.
The spacecraft plunged through Mars’ atmosphere, fired up a rocket-powered platform and lowered the car-sized, 1-ton Gale Crater. Then the platform flew off to its own crash landing, while Curiosity sent out a text message basically saying, “I made it!”to its landing spot in 96-mile-wide (154-kilometer-wide)
That message was relayed by the orbiting Mars Odyssey satellite back to Earth. A radio telescope in Australia picked up the message and sent it here to NASA’s. When the blips of data appeared on the screens at JPL’s mission control, the room erupted in cheers and hugs.
Congratulations! We need good news, and this is great news.
So far as I can tell, no U.S. television network covered the event live in Pasadena. What a shame.
- NPR’s story on the landing, other links
- Christian Science Monitor article prior to the landing
- Pass the Peanuts: Landing Day Here for NASA’s Mars Rover Curiosity (space.com)
- Mars landing live from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (newscientist.com)
- Curiosity landing live from NASA’s JPL (go.theregister.com)
- NASA counting down to nail-biting Mars plunge – San Jose Mercury News (mercurynews.com)
- Mars rover Curiosity nears make-or-break landing attempt scheduled for Monday – @Reuters (reuters.com)
- Rover ‘Curiosity’ Now in Clutches of Mars’ Gravity (news.discovery.com)