August 10th, 2012
07:24 PM ET

'Impressive' Curiosity landing only 1.5 miles off, NASA says

Early data shows the Mars rover Curiosity landed with amazing accuracy this week, coming down about 1.5 miles from its target after a 350-million-mile journey, NASA scientists said Friday, perhaps giving planners more confidence about landing spacecraft in tight spaces in the future.

The $2.6 billion rover is on a two-year mission to determine whether Mars ever had an environment capable of supporting life. It landed Monday and will spend the next four days installing operational software that will give it full movement and analytic capabilities, scientists said at a news conference at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Curiosity missed its target entry point into Mars' atmosphere by about only one mile, and most everything in its complicated descent and landing operations - a spectacle popularly known as the "seven minutes of terror" - happened on time, including the deployment of the largest-ever supersonic parachute and the heat shield separation.

"From all the data we've received so far, we flew this right down the middle, and it's incredible to work on a plan for (years) and then have things happen ... according to plan," said Steve Sell, who was involved in the powered descent phase.

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Filed under: Mars • Science • Space
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    I am interested in knowing if a little green man will have curiosity for Curiosity and take a baseball bat and bust thier stuff up while being video taped in HD yet. :)

    August 10, 2012 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Lord, I hope not; at 2.5 billion, that would be an expensive "toy" for the Martians to trash...

      August 10, 2012 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    Maybe it'll get hit by a Martian rakoon. Red with green stripe. Spray all over that thing. Smells like fresh linen.

    August 10, 2012 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    I couldn't use the short for rakoon cause it's filtered as racist. Couldn't spell it conventional, cause that's not an animal, it too is racist. C N Wh t di you d to m ph ne?

    August 10, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
  4. banasy©

    It is 4 months today that my very good friend Leeintulsa passed.
    I miss hit wit terribly.
    Thanks, Jeff.

    August 10, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      S/B "HIS" wit, not hit wit.
      Although his humor could pack a wallop, lol.

      August 10, 2012 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Superman

    Wo its been 4mths already? Time flys does it not lets get kellyintulsa going here

    August 11, 2012 at 4:41 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      @Superman:
      Yes, it's been 4 months. :(
      Kelly doesn't live in Tulsa anymore.

      August 11, 2012 at 6:27 am | Report abuse |
  6. Superman

    Good that kelly moved hopefully now she can move on new surroundings sometimes all itr takes

    August 11, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Philiscient

    THe Apollo moon landing nearly kanded in a crater. And for the same reason Curiosity missed: the speed of light is NOT a constant. :)

    August 11, 2012 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • henry briggs

      the speed of light may not be constant, but it's pretty darn close...

      August 14, 2012 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
  8. james ainoris

    I am a pro science guy....however with all the problems that need to be solved on this earth we should redirect these talented people and funding to more critical issues... clean energy (fusion) solar ,hydro etc. What about medical research the rise of autism...crop failure the list goes on... In 1976 we had a craft looking at mars then all through the 90s... enough...star trek fanatics need to come down to earth....(i love star trek also). What r we to tell our grandkidz when our earths atsmosphere is like mars to much co2...while we played with space robots...maybe in four years have olympics there...lol. jim ainoris

    August 11, 2012 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
  9. just eye

    James, there is no money to be made in that field of technology, so it doesnt happen.

    August 12, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  10. contact ufo

    no one in Universe is interesting in Earth technology not in your either,this is only remeinder from Me to You USA,you have left 3-month, from 1-September to 1-December this year,you take technology with no fuel (contact ufo)have or we will remove you + 9 other terytori(country) turn them to the ashes with the population(an map we have, contact ufo send to as), is aprox.3.2 miliard people,in 10 countrys,after another 2-miliard will die, if surveiv 1-1.5 miliard an Earth they will go with new technology w.no fuel-china,india,usa,russia,german,iran,venezuela,cuba,israel,gb-england,this country after mine try refuze future Iam try 10-years,decizion is made is mine,600-space ship will turn the countrys in 1-week with people inside to ashes,the gov. refused give future,for people,they destroy our planet Earth,no mercy.

    August 12, 2012 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
  11. henry briggs

    you all are so crazy.....

    August 14, 2012 at 11:21 pm | Report abuse |