NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) / Curiosity rover is on the Martian surface, wheels down, inside Gale crater, and doing well. The MSL team received radio confirmation at 10:32 PM PDT / 1:32 AM EDT. / 05:32 UTC, after the signal had traveled for 13.8 minutes, a distance of 154-million miles.
Once the celebrations are concluded, the mission team will spend most of August checking out the vehicle and getting the first images. Of course, they will be getting science data during that time, but their focus will be doing engineering checkouts of the instruments, of the sampling system, changing flight software, and doing other things. The team expects that by early September they can do their first drive if Curiosity.
The Mars Science Laboratory / Curiosity rover mission is managed for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C., by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena (Caltech). More information about Curiosity is online at www.nasa.gov/msl and mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl . You can follow the mission on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/marscuriosity and on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/marscuriosity .