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Jennifer is Co-host of The Story of Liberty Radio Broadcast, video editor and creator, blogger & Web designer for the Story of Liberty. TheStoryofLiberty.net

Engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory hug each other after hearing of the Curiosity rover's successful landing on Mars on Sunday night.l

NASA’s Curiosity rover scores touchdown on Mars

Engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory hug each other after hearing of the Curiosity rover’s successful landing on Mars on Sunday night.

After eight years of planning and eight months of interplanetary travel, NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory pulled off a touchdown of Super Bowl proportions, all by itself. It even sent pictures from the goal line.

The spacecraft plunged through Mars’ atmosphere, fired up a rocket-powered platform and lowered the car-sized, 1-ton Curiosity rover to its landing spot in 96-mile-wide (154-kilometer-wide) Gale Crater. Then the platform flew off to its own crash landing, while Curiosity sent out a text message basically saying, “I made it!”

That message was relayed by the orbiting Mars Odyssey satellite back to

A thumbnail, fisheye view from one of the hazard avoidance cameras on NASA’s Curiosity rover shows Martian soil and parts of the spacecraft itself.

Earth. A radio telescope in Australia picked up the message and sent it here to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. When the blips of data appeared on the screens at JPL’s mission control, the room erupted in cheers and hugs.

A thumbnail, fisheye view from one of the hazard avoidance cameras on NASA’s Curiosity rover shows Martian soil and parts of the spacecraft itself.

Because of the light-travel time between Mars and Earth, throngs of scientists and engineers — along with millions who were monitoring the action via television and the Internet — celebrated Curiosity’s landing 14 minutes after it actually occurred.

Millions watched on http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/ustream.html as Curiosity landed on Mars.

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