News / Science & Technology

NASA Celebrates Mars Rover Landing

Curiosity Rover Sends Photos from Marsi
|| 0:00:00
X
August 07, 2012 2:02 AM
After a nearly 9-month voyage from Earth, the Curiosity rover made a perfect landing on the Mars at about 5:30 UTC on Monday, August 6. The car-sized robotic craft is already returning new images of the Red Planet. VOA's Suzanne Presto in Washington reports on Curiosity's first few hours on Mars and what is expected from the Mars Science Laboratory Mission in the days ahead.

Curiosity Rover Sends Photos from Mars

Related Articles

TEXT SIZE - +
Suzanne Presto
The mood at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory mission control center in California quickly changed from anxiety to exhilaration, with cheers erupting, as soon as engineers confirmed that the Curiosity rover made a perfect landing on Mars August 6, after a nearly 9-month voyage from Earth.  
 
Mars Science Lab team members were jubilant as they learned the rover's parachute had deployed, its rocket thrusters had ignited, and its skycrane had activated for a flawless touchdown. 

Within minutes, Curiosity provided its first black and white image from Mars.  The rover sent an image of its wheel, proof of a solid landing. 
 
At a news briefing Monday afternoon, NASA showed more images from Curiosity's first few hours on its new home planet.
 
One showed a windswept Martian plain.  Scientists say another shows what might be an outline of Mount Sharp, the peak in Gale Crater that is expected to yield information about the planet's evolution.  

NASA video of Curiosity landing process



Mission Manager Michael Watkins said colorful panoramic and three-dimensional images will come. "But these first images are always somehow the best to me because when you land on Mars, it's new every time," said Watkins.  "This is a new place on Mars.  We go on vacation to see a different part of the Earth.  It's on our own planet, and here we're seeing a part of Mars we've never seen before."  
An image from a satellite obiting Mars of Curiosity's landing parachuteAn image from a satellite obiting Mars of Curiosity's landing parachute
x
An image from a satellite obiting Mars of Curiosity's landing parachute
An image from a satellite obiting Mars of Curiosity's landing parachute
But Curiosity was not only a photographer. It also was photographed.
 
From a distance of about 340 kilometers, NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter took a picture of the Mars Science Lab - its parachute deployed after its fiery descent through the Martian atmosphere.
 
The detailed image thrilled those in the Jet Propulsion Laboratory briefing room.
 
And everything seemed to thrill everyone at the post-landing news conference. 
 
John Grunsfeld, a NASA scientist and former astronaut, said, "There are many out in the community who say that NASA has lost its way, that we don't know how to explore, that we've lost our moxie. I think it's fair to say that NASA knows how to explore.  We've been exploring.  And we're on Mars."   
 
  • This image shows the first color view of the north wall and rim of Gale Crater where Curiosity landed. The picture was taken by the rover's camera at the end of its stowed robotic arm and appears fuzzy because of dust on the camera's cover.
  • This image shows what lies ahead for the rover -- its main science target, informally called Mount Sharp. The rover's shadow is seen in the foreground, and the dark bands beyond are dunes. In the distance is the highest peak of Mount Sharp.
  • NASA's Curiosity rover and its parachute, left, descend to the Martian surface on August 5, 2012. The inset image is a cutout of the rover stretched to avoid saturation. The rover is descending toward the etched plains just north of the sand dunes.
  • In a stop motion frame taken during the NASA rover Mars landing, the heat shield falls away during Curiosity's descent to the surface of Mars.
  • One of the first views from NASA's Curiosity rover, which landed on Mars on August 5, 2012. It was taken through a wide-angle lens on one of the rover's Hazard-Avoidance cameras.
  • The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) team in the MSL Mission Support Area celebrates after learning the Curiosity rover has landed safely on Mars and images start coming into the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in Pasadena, California August 5, 2012.
  • Xavier Cabrera (front, C) of New York, celebrates while watching a live broadcast of the NASA Mission Control center in Time Square, in New York, August 6, 2012.
  • About two hours after landing on Mars and beaming back its first image, NASA's Curiosity rover transmitted a higher-resolution image of its new Martian home, Gale Crater.
  • NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft passes above Mars' south pole in this artist's concept illustration.
  • The target landing area for NASA' Mars Science Laboratory mission is the ellipse marked on this image of Gale Crater on Mars (top L).

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden looked to the future. "Today, right now, the wheels of Curiosity have begun to blaze the trail for human footprints on Mars," Bolden said. 
 
The nuclear-powered mobile laboratory has a two-year mission to explore the Red Planet.
 
Bolden said the rover "will seek to answer age-old questions about whether life ever existed there on Mars or if the planet can sustain life in the future."
 
NASA officials say initial tests show the rover's 10 science instruments survived the long journey.  In the coming days, checkout procedures will continue, and the rover will send additional images.  And before long, Curiosity's science mission will begin.  

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Mark Kaplan from: Ann Arbor Michigan
August 07, 2012 11:44 AM
A"Mars"ing achievement of science and technology. Worth every dollar spent. We should do exploration and science and look for new life and new worlds and at the same time preserve the beauty and life on our own planet. Peace not war.


by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
August 07, 2012 5:02 AM
Congraturations NASA!! I understand how much its staffs are jubilant. NASA has transfered its mission of sending astonauts to outerspace to private aircraft company. Now, NASA has acomplished the amount of difficult mission NASA is payed for. I suppose all steps from deployment of parachute to flawless touchdown of rover is undertaken automatically. It's great, cool, and fantastic!! Who could say there is no possibility that there live lives surviving in dry and high tempereture as of today?


by: Sara from: India
August 07, 2012 3:25 AM
Very well done scientists at Nasa. The coming generations would be thankful to you for showing them what is nothing less than a miracle. The technological advancement has surely helped to achieve this miracle.


by: saumya from: India
August 07, 2012 1:23 AM
A complicated landing which NASA has never tried before. A journey which lasted for almost 8 months. This landing was a moment of pure joy.
A costly mission that it was we already have a couple of photos from the surface of Planet Mars.
Here is all that you should know about this one Complicated Landing and all that is now in store for us on Earth:


by: Pyotr from: Siberia
August 07, 2012 12:40 AM
Congratulations to scientists of NASA! Congratulations to Americans, you've once again proved to be the avante-garde of exploration! Congradulations to all of us!


by: Mike
August 06, 2012 10:08 PM
Curiosity rover landing is an outstanding achievement of American science and technology!
The U.S. has an excellent opportunity to consolidate its technological leadership in the world and send a manned Mars spacecraft. The Americans were the first on the Moon, and they should be first on Mars!


by: C. John Hill from: Norfolk, England
August 06, 2012 11:20 AM
Before walking the dog this morning, I sat down and watched the Mars Lander Team at JPL monitoring the successful touchdown of Curiosity (06.31 BST - GMT+1). I consider this event to be one of the greatest achievements of the human race - the science and engineering involved was truly remarkable.
Well, done, America - well done, indeed; a special moment which will be remembered in the history of mankind.

In Response

by: Pam Botha from: Taipei, Taiwan
August 07, 2012 12:57 AM
agree John, was sooo excited to be able to alive for such an exciting event!! Well Done to everyone involved, and to say Thank you for us " that are also so curious!

In Response

by: Ciaran Mulcahy from: Dublin, Ireland
August 06, 2012 5:28 PM
Fantastic culmination of achievments which began with the Lauch of Viking 1, and its landing on Mars, followed by its immediate successor; coverage of which, for me, was from live VOA., on shortwave, as we didn't have satellite TV., or the Internet.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid