UPDATE: New Pics added below from Curiosity on Mars.
Mars Science Laboratory has landed safely on the surface of Mars inside Gale Crater.
Despite the high risk landing expected earlier today, it landed exactly as expected with no malfunctions encountered. This landing was met with much celebration and well wishing by everyone here at JPL, both in the Mission Control as well as all other parts of the campus.
Within minutes of landing, Curiosity sent back a low resolution (64×64) photograph of the surface. Seconds after that, it sent another higher res image, from the hazard detection camera, of the wheels down on the surface.
The call came out officially from Mission Control, “We’ve got wheels down on Mars!”
Adam Steltzner, NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory entry, descent and landing phase lead, spoke to CVWeekly shortly after touchdown. With such a huge scope of what just happened with landing on Mars, what is the benefit to us in the Crescenta Valley?
“We are walking on concrete,” Steltzner says as we move from the press conference back to mission control. “It’s made out of some special minerals, crushed rock and aggregate sands in a special mixture. The reason we are walking on concrete is because we are curious beasts who play around with things and explore. And the results of that are things like the flat concrete we’re walking on and the iPhone you’re holding in your hand. I think we explore, we are curious, as a basic expression of our humanity. And I actually think we do it much like a starving artist does their art, despite it being impractical. We do it because it is in our humanity to do it. And so, I think that the benefit is this collective expression our humanity. I think there’s a huge benefit to that. I think that that is maybe even the central benefit.”
Check our twitter account @cvweekly for the updates as they happen and visit mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl for all the information.