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The landing of Mars Curiosity

Curiosity: Robot Geologist and Chemist in One
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Yesterday, hubby and I were fortunate to have the opportunity to watch the landing of the Mars Curiosity rover on Mars at the Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex (CDSCC) at Tidbinbilla, with hundreds of fellow space geeks. It was a nail-biting landing sequence – I was nervous as anything as we watched/heard the landing sequence, but oh boy did I feel proud and happy when we heard the good news (there was also a few happy tears around the room, or was that Mars dust?).

I was proud to witness such an extraordinary event and to be able to experience it at the CDSCC. The atmosphere was electrifying and I can only imagine what it was like at NASA’s Mission Control!

The day has been well covered across the news but also by some of my fellow space lovers, including Curiosity puts wheels on Mars via Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex by @codenix and Watching history unfold: Viewing the Curiosity landing from a NASA facility! by @crystalsinger.

Here are some of the photos I captured during the day.

DSS43 dish
DSS43 dish at the Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex
Andrea's hacked Curiosity Mars Rover
Hacked Curiosity Mars Rover by @UTLAU who also made a Curiosity handbag
CSIROtweetup reunion
We had a bit of a CSIROtweetup reunion - catching up with folks that we haven't seen since the launch of Curiosity last year
Alastair trying to land the Mars Rover via the Kinect
There was a Kinect game set up where you can practise landing the rover. It was pretty tricky.
Packed like sardines
The room was filled to capacity with attendees from Canberra and interstate
Wonderfully decorated Mars Landing Cake by @astrochicky & @crystalsinger, showing a ‘virtual Curiosity’ superimposed over it by using NASA’s Spacecraft 3D app on the iPad.
One of the first images taken by NASA's Curiosity rover
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech - One of the first images taken by NASA's Curiosity rover showing the rover's surroundings

The rest of the photos are on my flickr stream. Keep an eye out for Martin Ollman’s amazing photos.

A big thank you to Glen Nagle (@astro0_umsf), Vanessa Hill (@nessyhill), CSIRO and Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex (@CanberraDSN) for hosting the landing party. It made this event extra special by being able to celebrate it with other passionate space lovers and by being part of the experience.

Published inScience

3 Comments

  1. Thanks Ruth. It really was a great day. A wonderful day for science. An amazing team at JPL and an incredible spacecraft on Mars.
    The biggest thanks of the day goes to my brilliant staff, Korinne McDonnell (she’s a Dr. btw) and Leanne George (super talented and good scary). They work tirelessly behind the scenes, keep me sane and allow me to be the crazy spaceman.

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