Curiosity rover successfully lands on Mars!

One of the first images sent back by Curiosity, showing gravel / pebbles near one of the wheels. Part of the rim of Gale crater can be seen in the distance. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech

After a nail-biting descent through the thin Martian atmosphere, the biggest and most sophisticated Mars rover so far, Curiosity, landed successfully last night inside its target zone within the huge Gale crater.

The “seven minutes of terror” during the descent turned into a celebration as signals received from the rover indicated it had performed a virtually flawless landing – amazing considering that the technique, using the “sky crane” to gently lower the rover to the surface, had never been used before until now.

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