In an amazing feat for NASA, the land rover Curiosity landed safely on Mars early Monday morning. The $2.5 billion endeavor has been called the most ambitious and most important mission ever taken on by NASA. The harrowing "seven minutes of terror" landing sequence was broadcast live (and free), allowing the world to watch the SUV-sized rover land on the planet’s ground. As the NASA control room burst into applause when the largest human-made object made it safely to the surface of Mars, Curiosity transmitted images back to Earth within a few minutes, letting the world know that everything went as planned.
The rover was sent to Mars to determine if it would be possible to sustain life on the planet. There is evidence that sedimentary rock from found at Mount Sharp may have supported microbial life, giving hope that humans could one day inhabit the Earth-like planet. It could be months before Curiosity makes it over to the mountain, but in the mean time, the rover has been sending back high quality images and videos of the red planet. NASA has given the public almost full access to everything that Curiosity has sent back in hopes of spurring a renewed interest in space exploration.
So far, the plan has worked. The mission has become a media sensation, causing people to search for anything and everything related to Mars and the Curiosity launch, even triggering a succession of popular memes. Now that Curiosity has landed, everyone is curious to see what the rover will find on its Mars mission.
That said, here’s a compilation of the nine best images and videos from (or inspired by) Curiosity.
1. This says it all
2. Curiosity's descent
3. Curiosity's reflection on Mars' surface
4. The dust lens cap is still on Curiosity's camera, but it will be removed as the Rover continues to take pictures.
5. NASA "Mohawk Guy," Bobak Ferdowsi, became the real star of the Curiosity mission.
6. Curiosity's even got its own meme.
7. A map of Mars showing where the rover landed
8. The rover also sent back a 3D image of Mars' terrain
9. And of course, the people who made it all possible