mars rover_311 reuters.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Mars science rover Curiosity landed on the Martian surface shortly after 10:30 p.m. Pacific time on Sunday (1:30 a.m. EDT Monday/0530 GMT) to begin a two-year mission seeking evidence the Red Planet once hosted ingredients for life, NASA said.
Mission controllers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory near Los Angeles burst into applause and cheered as they received signals relayed by a Mars orbiter confirming that the rover had survived a make-or-break descent and touched down within its landing zone.
NASA described the feat as perhaps the most complex achieved in robotic spaceflight.
Moments later, Curiosity beamed back its first three images from the Martian surface, one of them showing a wheel of the vehicle.
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