MARS (WKBW/ABCNews) - After 8-months and a 352-million-mile journey, NASA has visual confirmation of the Mars Rover "Curiosity" landing safely on the Mars surface. NASA says it received a signal from "Curiosity" after a plunge through the Martian atmosphere described as "7 minutes of Terror."
The first signal of the rover landing successfully came through after 1:30 A.M. Monday,
"Touchdown confirmed," said engineer Allen Chen. "We're safe on Mars."
Minutes later, Curiosity beamed back the first pictures from the surface showing its wheel and its shadow, cast by the afternoon sun, giving earthlings their first glimpse of the very alien place where the rover now stands.
"Tonight's success, delivered by NASA, parallels our major steps forward towards a vision for a new partnership with American companies to send American astronauts into space on American spacecraft," President Obama said in a statement.
"And tonight's success reminds us that our preeminence, not just in space, but here on Earth, depends on continuing to invest wisely in the innovation, technology, and basic research that has always made our economy the envy of the world."
Curiosity is NASA's latest attempt yet to go where robots, but no man, have gone before. Before this mission, the U.S., Russia, Japan and Europe had sent 40 spacecraft to explore the fourth planet from the sun since the space age began. Twenty-six had failed.
Image Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech