It all worked. The 500,000 lines of computer code went off without a glitch. The 76 onboard explosive devices popped off in sequence to the microsecond, throwing valves and cutting loose tether lines. So Curiosity rover’s 7 minutes of terror had the happiest of endings. At 1:37 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, word came down: “Touchdown confirmed. We’re safe on Mars.” Signals from Curiosity, followed within minutes by the first crude images of wheels on the ground, confirmed that it had safely touched down in Gale crater on Mars near enticing water-altered sediments at the foot of 5-kilometer-tall Mount Sharp.
I can’t WAIT for more photos and news from Mars! What an exciting moment for science and history.