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Curiosity lands safely on Mars

Rover sets down in complex maneuver

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1:39am, August 6, 2012

PASADENA, Calif. — Curiosity has phoned home from the dusty surface of Mars.

Radio signals and images received at 10:32 p.m. PDT on August 5 by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory confirm that the rover has reached Mars’ Gale Crater, Curiosity's intended destination after an 8.5-month journey of 567 million kilometers.

Scientists and engineers packed into the JPL mission control room erupted in cheers upon receiving word that the one-ton, six-wheeled rover had survived a complicated sequence of maneuvers that ferried the spacecraft from the top of the Martian atmosphere to the floor of the crater — a descent covering 640 kilometers — in just seven minutes.

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