Mars Curiosity Landing: Relive the Excitement

Where were you when Curiosity landed? It’s a hot topic of discussion in the hallways of JPL and on social media this week, as people remember the dramatic, tension-filled landing of NASA’s Curiosity rover and its Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft on Aug. 5, 2012 PDT (Aug. 6, 2012 EDT).

Millions of people around the world were glued to TV sets and mobile devices during the white-knuckle landing. The man who led the team that designed and tested the unprecedented sky-crane landing system, Adam Steltzner of JPL, sums up public interest in Curiosity and its exploration this way: “I think through it, we dream a little bigger, maybe aspire a little higher and in some sense, we’re a little better — a teeny, eensy bit better.”

The landing anniversary was marked by a special NASA TV broadcast featuring a panel discussion about Curiosity’s engineering and science accomplishments. The panel also discussed how Curiosity and its dedicated, diverse team have earned a special place in the hearts and minds of the public through Twitter, Facebook and other traditional and social media venues. The broadcast is archived on Ustream at: http://www.ustream.tv/nasajpl.

This self-portrait of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity combines 66 exposures taken by the rover's Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) during the 177th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity's work on Mars (Feb. 3, 2013).

This self-portrait of NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity combines 66 exposures taken by the rover’s Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) during the 177th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity’s work on Mars (Feb. 3, 2013). Image credit: NASA.

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