Now that was fun to watch — even if we couldn’t really see what was going on.
NASA’s Curiosity scientific rover pulled off an intricate series of maneuvers to land successfully on Mars tonight — a huge moment for the space agency and the country, and a massive relieve to the team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
The best part of the live stream on NASA TV was the raucous scene as Curiosity sent signals and then pictures after surviving its famous “Seven Minutes of Terror.”
“The wheels of Curiosity have begun to blaze the trail for human footprints on Mars,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, addressing a news conference after the successful landing.
The news conference is going on now, accessible via this webcast. NASA officials are describing it as an example of American persistence and innovation, and the most ambitious robotic mission ever attempted.
Curiosity will explore the planet to determine whether life could have existed on the planet. Of course, this being 2012, Curiosity has its own Twitter account, where you can follow news and pictures from the Red Planet.
GeekWire’s Emily Shahan is down at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, where a crowd gathered to watch the event, and we’ll have more from the scene there in a follow-up post.