There was plenty to celebrate in the control room of Pasadena’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory after NASA’s $2.5 billion Mars rover Curiosity made a successful touchdown on the Red Planet!
Scientists at JPL breathed a sigh of relief after they received confirmation that Curiosity landed safely on the surface of Mars at 10:32 p.m on Sunday, according to CBSLA.com.
Dubbed the “Seven Minutes Of Terror,” scientists at JPL sat on the edge of their seats during the descent of the rover in Mars’ atmosphere had to slow from a speed of 13,000 mph to just 1.7 mph in seven minutes.
After the first images were sent back to Earth just minutes after touchdown, all their hard work on the project paid off and the celebration in the lab began.
“The landing system for Curiosity is pretty amazing. It’s the biggest vehicle we’ve ever put down on the Martian surface and the heaviest so it required some new inventions,” said JPL Deputy Project Scientist Ashwin Vasavada. “One of those new inventions was the ability to fly the Rover down on sort of a rocket jet pack the last few miles through the surface.”
The rover contains 10 scientific instruments on board, which it will use during its two-year expedition on the surface of Mars in search of signs of life.
Here is one of the first images the rover Curiosity sent back to Earth from the Red Planet! Click here to see more images of mission control celebrating the landing on Mars!