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Mars rover: Curiosity's landing, as told through Twitter

August 6, 2012 |  6:59 am

After successfully sticking its highly anticipated landing on Mars Sunday night, Curiosity will begin a two-year, $2.5-billion mission to look for the building blocks of life on the Red Planet.

But the largest and most advanced spacecraft ever sent to another planet has already established quite the presence in the world of social media.

PHOTOS: JPL's faces of joy

Both the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge — home to mission control — and NASA live-tweeted the landing. President Barack Obama congratulated the team of engineers for making what he called a "remarkable accomplishment" a reality. Actor Seth Green, who watched the landing from JPL, chimed in.

And in true Twitter fashion, even Curiosity was able to sound off on its landing. The rover has its own verified Twitter account: @MarsCuriosity.

Curiosity piqued: Rover lands on Mars

Curiosity, the largest and most advanced spacecraft ever sent to another planet, made its highly anticipated Mars landing without a hitch Sunday night, drawing cheers and tears inside mission control at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge and beyond.

Storified by Kate Mather · Mon, Aug 06 2012 06:54:51

Mars rover Curiosity safely lands on MarsCuriosity, the largest and most advanced spacecraft ever sent to another planet, stuck its extraordinary landing Sunday night without a h...
Right now, I'm closer to Mars than the moon is to Earth. 28 hours to landing!Curiosity Rover
Perhaps the most harrowing part of the rover's landing was the final seven minutes, dubbed the "seven minutes of terror" by engineers. Curiosity needed to slow from 13,000 miles per hour to a complete stop to land without crashing — a feat that involved pyrotechnics, ropes and a "backpack" of engines that would make or break the $2.5-billion mission.
Entering Mars' atmosphere. 7. Minutes. Of. Terror. Starts. NOW. #MSLCuriosity Rover
Challenges of Getting to Mars: Curiosity's Seven Minutes of Terrorjplnews
But when the rover stuck its landing, Al Chen, an engineer on Curiosity's entry, descent and landing team, said the words that space scientists had been waiting on for 10 years: "Touchdown confirmed."
SUCESS!! #curiosity #marsmadness #msl Engineers cheer!Amina Khan
Hugs to go around @NASAJPL Mission Control. The room has become a roiling wave of baby blue as JPL employees embrace. http://pic.twitter.com/5XbjtXNEW.J. Hennigan
They're starting to sob with joy in mission control. #mslJon Bardin
Staff cracking open Mars bars! #MSL #marsmadness http://pic.twitter.com/045mDyQFJon Bardin
"There is the rover, safely on the surface of MARS." #curiosity #marsmadness #msl "This is AMAZING."Amina Khan
We have an image! 'It's a wheel!' Cheers in JPL #marsmadness #msl shadow of late pm sun http://pic.twitter.com/CmyKTVDaAmina Khan
Moments later, the rover sent back its first grainy images.
First photos from Mars Curiosity landingMere moments after the Mars Science Laboratory's 10:32 p.m. Sunday touchdown on the surface of the Red Planet, the rover known as Curiosi...
Grainy thumbnail photos of @MarsCuriosity coming now. @NASAJPL engineer calls out "It's the wheel! It's the wheel!." #MSLW.J. Hennigan
The beautiful shadow of a beautiful rover on Mars. Congratulations @MarsCuriosity team!! http://pic.twitter.com/37GRfnwENASA JPL
"Tonight, on the planet Mars, the United States of America made history."—President ObamaBarack Obama
"I congratulate and thank all the men and women of NASA who made this remarkable accomplishment a reality."—President ObamaBarack Obama
The excitement of the rover's landing extended beyond mission control, as many people waited up Sunday night to watch Curiosity reach Mars. 
NASA Mars rover Curiosity's landingThe first image from the rover Curiosity on the Mars surface hammered home to some scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory Sunday nig...
"Today, the wheels of Curiosity have begun to blaze the trail for human footprints on Mars," @NASA Administrator Charles Bolden #MSLNASA
To the entire team & fans back on Earth, thank you, thank you. Now the adventure begins. Let's dare mighty things together! #MSLCuriosity Rover
The Olympics is cool and all but today NASA is lowering a car sized rover onto Mars using nylon strings attached to a rocket powered shelf.Catherine
Once more, without the clear dust cover. Here's the "fisheye" pic from my rear Hazcam #MSL http://twitpic.com/ag43ltCuriosity Rover
Excited at all of the possibilities of the 'Curiosity' space rover on Mars. #CuriosityDavid Enright
Goes to show what humans can achieve! Amazing!Paolino Turone
We have landed on Mars for a 4th time! Congratulations @MarsCuriosity @NASAJPL & CitizensOfEarth Can't wait for … http://say.ly/nMf3UUgSeth Green
Congratulations to JPL and Mars Rover Curiosity! Science rules! Go NASA!Jeannene Hurley


Mars rover flight team sticks to traditions

Mars rover Curiosity's successful landing 'made history'

NASA Mars rover Curiosity's landing "rocked... Was that not cool?"

— Kate Mather 

Follow Kate Mather on Twitter or Google+.

Photo: Adam Steltzner, right, a leader of the landing team, said that if any one of 76 pyrotechnic explosions failed to occur before landing, "we die." Officials had spent much of the day Sunday speculating about how Curiosity might fail, and what the consequences might be for America's space program. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times