Many people I know joined me at being up and waiting for word of Curiosity's descent to the surface of Mars. This is still no ho-hum event -- Mars has a long history of eating probes. In a way it's odd that being in between the vacuum of the Moon and our own terrestrial atmosphere has made descent technology so complicated, let alone having tech failures, landing on rocks or just forgetting about Standard to metric conversions.
So landing a one ton car on Mars is not trivial and hats off to the fine folks at JPL, et al.
Of course, it has very large shoes, er, wheels?, to fill, following in the footsteps, er, tracks... of the Mars rovers Sojourner, Spirit and Opportunity.
But Wait, It's Better!
We have a photo of Curiosity on the way down, taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's HRISE camera:
What is truly amazing is that this is not the first time this has happened -- Phoenix in 2008 (DW) !
Once has to tread carefully, but we're getting good at this, even on a light budget and a skimpy schedule. This, after all, not easy -- it's rocket science! (grin) And just in time to update my science presentation at WorldCon (DW).