The Mars science rover Curiosity arrived on the Martian area soon after 10:30 p.m. Pacific time on Weekend (1:30 a.m. EDT Monday/0530 GMT) to begin a two-year mission looking for proof the Red Planet once hosted substances for life, NASA said.
Mission controllers at the Jet Space Laboratory near Los Angeles rush into applause and cheered as they obtained alerts relayed by a Mars orbiter verifying that the rover had lived through a make-or-break descent and moved down within its landing area.
NASA described the accomplishment as perhaps the most complicated obtained in automatic spaceflight.
Moments later, Curiosity beamed back its first three pictures from the Martian area, one of them displaying a rim of the vehicle.
“I can’t believe this. This is unbelievable,” said the deputy leader of the rover’s descent and landing team, Allen Chen.
The car-sized rover obviously came to wind down at its planned spot near the base of a high hill increasing from the surface of Gale Crater in Mars’ southeast hemisphere, mission controllers said.
The $2.5 billion dollars curiosity venture, officially known as the Mars Science Laboratory, is NASA’s first astrobiology mission since the 1970s-era Viking probes.
The landing represents a significant success and landmark for a U.S. space organization infamous by cost cuts and the latest loss of its 30-year-old space shuttle program.
“It’s a tremendous leap ahead in planetary discovery. Nobody has ever done anything like this,” said John Holdren, the top science advisor to President Barack Obama, who was viewing JPL for the occasion. “It was an incredible performance.”
The actual situation of the one-ton, six-wheeled, nuclear powered vehicle upon its introduction could not be instantly determined.
NASA programs to put the rover and its innovative equipment, recognized as the first full-fledged cellular technology lab sent to another world, through a few several weeks of technological innovation assessments before beginning its two-year surface mission in earnest.
The landing capped a journey of more than eight months across more than 350 million miles (567 million km) of space since the Mars Science Lab was released from Cape Canaveral, Florida.