Curiosity Rover Touches Down Safely on Mars After a Risky Trip Down

After a 352 million-mile journey the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) can breathe easy after their Curiosity rover landed safely on Mars following a paralysing descent through the planet’s atmosphere which has been called “7 Minutes of Terror.”

Curiosity landed at Gale Crater, at the foot of a 3.4 mile high mountain, loaded with the scientific instruments necessary to determine whether Mars has an environment capable of supporting life. The crater spans 96 miles and was chosen as the perfect site to start thanks to its low elevation and, therefore, being a likely place for water to have pooled.

“Today, the wheel of Curiosity have begun to blaze the trail for human footprints on Mars,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a statement. He also added that Curiosity’s landing marks a significant step toward achieving President Barack Obama’s vision of sending humans to Mars by 2040.

The Mars Science Laboratory was launched from Cape Canaveral on November 26, 2011 and now just under 11 months later NASA can only feel the excitement of their hard work and patience paying off.

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