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CURIOSITY LANDS ON MARS; NEW CHAPTER IN SPACE EXPLORATION BEGINS

Third Image from Curiosity on Mars, From NASA

Third Image from Curiosity on Mars, From NASA

By Brian Hews
“NASA #MSL: Touchdown confirmed for @MarsCuriosity
24 seconds ago · reply · retweet · favorite
MarsCuriosity I’m safely on the surface of Mars. GALE CRATER I AM IN YOU!!! #MSL
58 seconds ago · reply · retweet · favorite”

Curiosity has landed on the planet Mars, and a new chapter in space exploration has officially began.

The landing took place approximately 352 million miles (567 million kilometers), concluding a 36-week journey from Earth and touchdown was confirmed at 10:32 p.m. PST.

The first views from Curiosity will give NASA engineers a good idea of what surrounds Curiosity, as well as its location and tilt and in typical “Earth fashion” the social network site “Twitter” exploded with posts and comments.

“Ensuring that the rover is on stable ground is important before raising the rover’s mast,” said Mission Manager Jennifer Trosper at JPL. “We are using an entirely new landing system on this mission, so we are proceeding with caution.” Color pictures from the rover’s Mars Descent Imager, or MARDI, acquired as the rover descends to the Martian surface, will help pinpoint the rover’s location. Initial images from MARDI are expected to be released Aug. 6, the day after landing.

NASA took to Twitter to announce the news of the landing:

“Way to go, Odyssey! The Mars orbiter is in position to relay my communications during landing in real-time back to Earth,” was Tweeted at 10:14 p.m. PST.

“Mars Odyssey orbiter is now in position to listen & transmit back to Earth from @MarsCuriosity during entry and descent,” was Tweeted at 10:15 p.m.

“MarsCuriosity Cruise stage separation complete. So long & thanks for all the navigation. 17 minutes to Mars! #MSL” at 10:16 p.m.

“MarsCuriosity I feel lighter & faster already. Cruise balance masses ejected and Mars is pulling me in #MSL at 10:19 p.m.;

“Cruise stage separation complete for @MarsCuriosity. It carried the rover on a cruise away from Earth all the way to the red planet,” at 10:21 p.m.

“NASA #MSL: @MarsCuriosity is now sending heartbeat tones (tonal signals) indicating when certain critical mission events occur,” at 10:21 p.m.

“NASA #MSL: The @MarsCuriosity rover is now speeding up relative to Mars as the gravity of the red planet is pulling it in,” at 10:22 p.m.

“MarsCuriosity Entering Mars’ atmosphere. 7. Minutes. Of. Terror. Starts. NOW. #MSL” at 10:25 p.m.

“NASA #MSL: We’re in the seven minutes of terror for @MarsCuriosity,” at 10:26 p.m.

“MarsCuriosity Guided entry is begun. Here I go! #MSL” at 10:27 p.m.

“NASA #MSL: We are in guided entry for @MarsCuriosity — the first time we’ve ever attempted to guide a rover to a specific spot on Mars,” 10:30 p.m.

“NASA #MSL: We have parachute deploy on @MarsCuriosity” at 10:31 p.m.

“MarsCuriosity Backshell separation. It’s just you & me now, descent stage. Engage all retrorockets! #MSL” at 10:31 p.m.

“NASA #MSL: Heat shield has separated and we are in powered flight for @MarsCuriosity. And the sky crane has started.”
10:31 p.m.

“NASA #MSL: Touchdown confirmed for @MarsCuriosity
24 seconds ago · reply · retweet · favorite 10:31 p.m.
MarsCuriosity I’m safely on the surface of Mars. GALE CRATER I AM IN YOU!!! #MSL
58 seconds ago · reply · retweet · favorite”

Los Cerritos Community Newspaper will continue to cover this historical missing to Mars during the next several days, and will be getting local reaction from “space fans” throughout the greater Southeast Los Angeles County area on Monday.

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