Curiosity rover safely lands on Mars, sends first photos

curiosity landing

It was a nail biting seven minutes as mission control translated to the world, step by step, the condition of the latest Mars expedition rover, while engineers stood by waiting and hoping for Curiosity’s successful landing. Despite NASA’s use of a new landing technology, we knew that the mission was an overwhelming success when mission control burst into applause.

The checklist for the landing included “munching” on peanuts — yes, peanuts. Eating peanuts has been a tradition for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory during landing or orbital insertions. The ritual began in July, 1964, when peanuts were handed out during the seventh attempt at the Ranger missions to the moon, launched to capture images of the surface of the moon before impacting the moon’s surface. The mission was finally a success.

first pictures of mars from curiosity rover

With or without the help of a little superstition, at 10:39 PM PST / 1:39 AM EST, Curiosity touched down safely on Mars, in the Gale Crater. Minutes later, the rover relayed back to mission control its first images snapped on the surface of the Red Planet. The picture on the left is an image of the shadow from the front of the rover, while the image on the right clearly shows Curiosity’s rear wheels with the Mars horizon in the background.

curiosity rear image exposure

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden took to the podium post-landing to announce Curiosity’s successful landing, and reiterated the complicated nature of the landing. According to Bolden, the odds of success, including previous missions to Mars, has been approximately 40 percent.

Thus far, there have been four landings and six successful missions. Curiosity is a concerted effort with seven other nations, including France, Germany, Denmark, who helped with this endeavor. Curiosity landed with 140 kilos (out of 400 kilos) of fuel left, and will spend at the minimum of two years on the surface to collect data using its onboard laboratory to determine whether current conditions of the planet indicate whether life may have once lived on Mars — or, if we’re lucky, currently exists on the Martian planet.

See all of Curiosity’s first images here.

Emerging Tech

The rise and reign of Starship, the world’s first robotic delivery provider

Excited about the impending delivery robot revolution? If so, you need to get familiar with Starship Technologies, the company which pioneered the whole thing. Here's what you need to know.
Emerging Tech

Impossible’s new plant-based sausage is here, but only at Little Caesar’s

Impossible Foods has teamed up with Little Caesars restaurants to create a new plant-based sausage pizza topping. Get ready for ... The Impossible Sausage. Here's where you can try it.
Emerging Tech

First, it was San Francisco. Now, the U.K. is fighting facial recognition

The U.K.'s first legal battle over police use of facial recognition has kicked off. The case involves a citizen who alleges the tech was used against him in a breach of his privacy.
Emerging Tech

Elon Musk thinks Starlink satellite internet could be online before 2021

Elon Musk's ultra-ambitious Starlink space internet project may take until November 2027 to be fully operational. However, some level of service could be offered as soon as next year.

Has purpose become a punchline? Among startups, the debate rages

Tech companies pledging to do good as they make money hand over fist has become a Silicon Valley punchline, but beneath the jeering, a real debate is playing out among startup founders and the investors who fund them.
Emerging Tech

This guy managed to squeeze an entire game console into a Game Boy cartridge

Popular YouTuber 3DSage has managed to compress an entire mobile games console inside a single original Game Boy cartridge. Check it out in all in its impressively miniaturized glory.
Emerging Tech

Ford’s bipedal delivery robot can walk straight up to your doorstep

Autonomous wheeled delivery robots are seemingly everywhere in 2019. Agility Robotics' Digit robot takes a different approach: It promises to carry out its deliveries while walking on two legs.
Emerging Tech

Scientists use an X-ray laser to create the loudest possible underwater sound

Researchers from Stanford University and the Department of Energy have produced the loudest sound possible to make under water. Here's how they managed to create it — and why they did it.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Huawei updates, Starlink launch, and Pac-Man’s birthday

On this episode of DT Live, we discuss the ongoing Huawei saga, Amazon’s social games for workers, Ford's partnership with a robotics company, the Starlink satellite launch, Pac-Man’s birthday, and more.
Emerging Tech

Las Vegas officials bet big on Elon Musk’s Boring Company

Elon Musk’s Boring Company has just been awarded a $48.6 million contract by Las Vegas to build a high-speed transportation system beneath the city’s enormous convention center, and it could be ready by early 2020.
Emerging Tech

Airbus shows off the futuristic interior of its autonomous flying taxi

Airbus has given us the first look inside its single-seat flying taxi. The absence of controls in the Vahana electric aircraft is a reflection of its autonomous capabilities, so you can just sit back and enjoy the ride.
Emerging Tech

I mainlined a bag of liquid vitamins — for science

Healthy people are signing up for treatments that are typically saved for patients stuck in hospital beds. Known as nutrient IV therapy, the treatment entails pumping vitamins, minerals, and fluids directly into the bloodstream, bypassing…
Emerging Tech

Future smart clothes promise to keep you the perfect temperature at all times

Regulating your body temperature can sometimes be tough. Engineers from UC San Diego have developed heating and cooling wearable tech which could be embedded into future smart clothing.
Emerging Tech

Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa 2 aborts marker drop mission

The Hayabusa 2 spacecraft's mission to drop a reflective marker on the surface of asteroid Ryugu has been aborted. The Japanese team was considering a second touchdown on the asteroid to collect more materials, but this now seems unlikely.