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VIDEO: NASA's Curiosity rover makes its landing on Mars

This video of Curiosity’s landing is humanity’s first recording of a touchdown on another planet.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1ebHThBdlY

(YouTube: )

IT MIGHT BE a bit grainy – but taking scenic photographs wasn’t really top of the agenda: this is, in fact, the first video that humans have ever obtained of a landing on another planet.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has released this footage – taken from a downward-facing camera on its Curiosity rover – of the 900kg robot making its successful landing on Mars.

The video – actually a series of high-resolution images pieced together in real-time – comes soundtracked with audio from mission control, where staff can be heard whopping with delight as the $2.5 billion project overcomes its largest hurdle.

The footage shows Curiosity’s final descent from about ten kilometres above the red planet, includes the deployment of parachutesand ends with confirmation that the craft had successfully turned down.

A high-resolution version of the video – pieced together for further high-resolution images transmitted back by Curiosity, though without the Mission Control audio soundtrack – can be found here (thanks, @adamjld).

Curiosity’s full mission to examine the surface of Mars – investing its climate, geology, and potential to support life – will take almost two years.

At present the craft is still undergoing mobility tests, and has taken a few test drives around the Martian surface.

The craft was upgraded almost immediately after its landing – having its original operating system deleted (its landing-specific capabilities are no longer needed) and replaced with newer software allowing for a greater range of mobility commands.

Here, also via the YouTube account, is Curiosity’s first 360° colour panorama photograph, taken from its landing site at the Gale Crater.

Read: Curiosity prepares to zap Mars rocks and hit the road

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Gavan Reilly

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