Rover makes 'impressive' landing on Mars

Aug. 11, 2012 at 5:18 PM

HOUSTON, Aug. 11 (UPI) -- NASA officials said the Mars rover Curiosity landed about 1.5 miles from its intended target on the Red Planet after "an impressive" 350-million-mile journey.

The $2.6 billion rover landed on Mars Monday to begin its two-year mission to determine whether Mars ever had an environment capable of supporting life, CNN reported.

Curiosity entered Mars' atmosphere about one mile late, but everything else about the landing went largely according to plan, NASA scientists said Friday.

"From all the data we've received so far, we flew this right down the middle, and it's incredible to work on a plan for [years] and then have things happen ... according to plan," said Steve Sell, who was involved in the powered descent phase.

"It was an impressive ride," said NASA's Allen Chen, the operations lead for descent and landing.

Now, Curiosity is installing its full surface operations software that will give it full movement and analytic capabilities, scientists said.

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