This article was originally published on August 6, 2012.
NASA Curiosity rover, after its launch on 26 November 2011 is now finally landed on Mars after a long voyage of eight and a half months covering 352 million miles. Curiosity is nuclear powered rover designed by NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory.
Curiosity rover sent its first image taken on Martian Surface and the photo eventually become viral on the internet and television platforms. This image is taken by a “fisheye” wide angled lens of Hazard Avoidance camera on the left-rear side of the Curiosity rover. The cameras are protected by the dust cover during the landing.
On its twitter, Curiosity tweeted “I’m safely on the surface of Mars. GALE CRATER I AM IN YOU!!!”. To get fast updates about Curiosity, follow @MarsCuriosity on twitter.
Curiosity landed on Aeolis Palus in Gale Crater after a series of landing maneuvers. Main goal of Curiosity is to find out whether Mars have supported life in the past and study the Martian atmosphere, climate, geology etc. These information about Mars is required in order to make plans for future human missions to Mars.
Curiosity carries numerous equipment to research on Martian surface determining mineral compositions to find any evidence whether microbial life ever existed on Mars. It has a robotic arm to drill the surface and a laser that can scan the rocks from a distance and a detector to measure various radiation levels.
NASA’s Pasadena mission control room celebrated the landing of Curiosity. President Barack Obama and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden greeted the success as one step closer towards human landing on Mars. HiRISE camera shot this amazing photo of the rover in parachute during landing.
Curiosity used a supersonic parachute to slow down during landing. The new thing about Curiosity landing is the landing the rover on Martian surface by cables with help of a hovering rocket. After touch down, the hovering rocket crashes at a distance. The video by Mars Science Laboratory simulates the series of steps involved during the landing of Curiosity.