Curiosity has landed...

The latest NASA exploration vehicle, Curiosity, safely landed on the surface of Mars earlier today. The one-tonne research vehicle has a mission that is expected to last at least two years - to find evidence that the Red Planet once supported some sort of life.

Curiosity has been travelling to the planet for the last few months and this morning the whole scientific community waited on tenterhooks to discover whether the rover had safely landed. Thankfully, Curiosity sent back the low-res black and white image below confirming its safe arrival on schedule.
image
Curiosity is now situated on the surface at the edge of Gale Crater and it'll be a few weeks of checks to ensure everything is ready for it to commence its mission. While we have a two-year mission ahead of us, the nuclear battery that powers Curiosity is capable of supporting the vehicle and its equipment for much longer.

Curiosity will relay data back to Earth via the Opportunity satellite that accompanied it on the journey from Earth and which is now in orbit around the planet.

Check out this great NASA animation demonstrating the landing process...

Click to view fullscreen

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