Curiosity rover: Nasa nerves turn to elation after perfect Mars landing


Scientists hail mission's early success as robot lands without a glitch and beams back first images of Martian landscape 
 Nasa scientists in mission control in California show their delight as the Curiosity rover's landing on Mars is confirmed Link to this video The first images from Mars were small, grey and grainy, but they verged on miraculous for the elated Nasa scientists, who hugged, cheered and high-fived on hearing they had pulled off the most daring landing ever attempted on another world. The US space agency's Curiosity rover touched down on Mars at 6.14am (BST) on Monday after an apparently perfect entry and descent dubbed the "seven minutes of terror" by Nasa staff. The period referred to the anxious moments during which the spacecraft punched into the Martian atmosphere at 13,000mph, performed a series of exquisite manoeuvres, and came to a standstill on the ground, all without human intervention. In the event, the entry was swift and went without a glitch. In the final stage of landing, the spacecraft fired up eight retrorockets to slow its descent, before its "sky crane" lowered the 900kg (1,984lb), car-sized Curiosity rover to the ground on nylon ropes. The conditions on Mars, where the wind can gust to 90mph, were calm, and the rover touched down at 1.5mph, more softly than expected. Seconds later, the rover beamed its first images back to Earth, the pictures taking nearly 14 minutes at the speed of light to reach mission control at Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California.Continue.....


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