'Curiosity' Rover Lands on Mars

If you didn't stay up late last night to watch the final descent of the Mars rover Curiosity to the surface, there's an excellent YouTube video of the last 25 minutes from NASA TV. What you missed was one of the most dramatic moments in NASA history. An untested landing procedure, entirely automatic, worked spectacularly well, as the one ton, $2.5 billion spacecraft touched down on time and on target. Reuters: NASA's Mars science rover Curiosity performed a daredevil descent through pink Martian skies late on Sunday to clinch an historic landing inside an ancient crater, ready to search for signs the Red Planet may once have harbored key ingredients for life. "It's an enormous step forward in planetary exploration. Nobody has ever done anything like this," said John Holdren, the top science advisor to President Barack Obama, who was visiting JPL for the event. "It was an incredible performance." Mission controllers burst into applause and cheers as they received signals...(Read Full Post)