European Space Agency jubilant as rover lands | News | DW | 06.08.2012
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European Space Agency jubilant as rover lands

DW's Holly Cooper watched the landing at the operations center of the European Space Agency in Darmstadt, where scientists applauded the Mars landing.

NASA's Curiosity rover successfully touched down on the surface of Mars after surviving a complicated landing.

After more than eight months and 350 million miles through space, the rover reached its final destination at 7:31 European Daylight Time.

All eyes were glued on the NASA live feed when two joyous words were spoken from mission control, “Touchdown confirmed.” Shouts of exuberance erupted simultaneously from the live feed and from the European Space Agency (ESA) operations center in Darmstadt, Germany.

During the landing, known as the seven minutes of terror, ground control had to endure an expected 14 minute delay in radio communication to find out if the landing was a success.

At NASA's request, ESA Mars Express was in position to observe the landing.

Mars Express has been orbiting Mars since December 2003 after its Beagle 2 lander failed.

“It took us months to prepare for these few minutes,” said Paolo Ferri, Head of Planetary Mission Operations at ESA, “I can certainly share the happiness and pride of these people.”

Shortly after landing a thumbnail photograph was relayed from Curiosity through NASA's Odyssey satellite to mission control.

In this image from NASA TV, shot off a video screen, one of the first images from the Curiosity rover is pictured of its wheel after it successfully landed on Mars. The video screen was inside the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) team inside the Spaceflight Operations Facility for NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover at Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California August 5, 2012. The Curiosity rover landed successfully landed on the surface of Mars. REUTERS/Courtesy NASA TV/Handout (UNITED STATES - Tags: SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS

NASA video shows images taken by the Curiosity after landing

The high definition photo showed the back of Curiosity, wheels down, with the horizon of Mars in the background.

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