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NASA rover Curiosity lands on Mars

by Matthew Price Published: August 6, 2012
John Grunsfeld, NASA Associate Administrator, NASA Headquarters, left, and Charles Elachi, JPL Director, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, present a can of "good luck" peanuts during an overview of the status and plans for NASA's Science Mission Directorate at NASA's JPL in Pasadena, Calif., Sunday, August 5, 2012. After traveling 8 1/2 months and 352 million miles, Curiosity will attempt a landing on Mars Sunday night. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
John Grunsfeld, NASA Associate Administrator, NASA Headquarters, left, and Charles Elachi, JPL Director, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, present a can of "good luck" peanuts during an overview of the status and plans for NASA's Science Mission Directorate at NASA's JPL in Pasadena, Calif., Sunday, August 5, 2012. After traveling 8 1/2 months and 352 million miles, Curiosity will attempt a landing on Mars Sunday night. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

As seen live on Nasa.gov, NASA has landed the rover Curiosity on the surface of Mars.

The AP reports:

The arrival was an engineering tour de force, debuting never-before-tried acrobatics packed into “seven minutes of terror” as Curiosity sliced through the Martian atmosphere at 13,000 mph.

In a Hollywood-style finish, cables delicately lowered the rover to the ground at a snail-paced 2 mph. A video camera was set to capture the most dramatic moments — which

The shadow of the rover Curiosity on the surface of Mars, in an image sent back from the planet and posted on NASA's twitter feed.

would give earthlings their first glimpse of a touchdown on another world.

The extraterrestrial feat injected a much-needed boost to NASA, which is debating whether it can afford another Mars landing this decade. At a budget-busting $2.5 billion, Curiosity is the priciest gamble yet, which scientists hope will pay off with a bonanza of discoveries.

Over the next two years, Curiosity will drive over to a mountain rising from the crater floor, poke into rocks and scoop up rust-tinted soil to see if the region ever had the right environment for microscopic organisms to thrive. It’s the latest chapter in the long-running quest to find out whether primitive life arose early in the planet’s history.

NewsOK has a full story and a selection of photos, with more to come.

- Matt Price

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by Matthew Price
Features Editor
Features Editor Matthew Price has worked for The Oklahoman since 2000. He’s a University of Oklahoma graduate who has also worked at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and was a Dow Jones Newspaper Fund intern for the Dallas Morning News. He’s...
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