I am totally awed today by the success of Curiosity. It was wonderful to be up early this morning and see such a bold mission pay off. It was also fascinating watching the human side of things in mission control. I have a new article to celebrate the landing, over on my Guardian blog:
"The Curiosity rover's daring landing on Mars was all about hard work, attention to detail, and the odd superstition
About an hour before Curiosity touched the Martian surface, Charles Elachi, director of Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, stepped outside. He looked up at the red dot of Mars in the nighttime sky and imagined what was about to happen. The dream turned into reality.
At 6:14am (UK time) Curiosity landed on Mars. The riskiest touchdown yet attempted on the red planet had worked. The explosion of joy and the tears of relief in the control room said it all. Deep down many had feared for this landing, and their liberation was palpable.
It is not by accident that space missions succeed. It takes years of planning and expert effort. Today we also learned that it's down to the peanuts. Yes, peanuts."
You can read the full story here.
Curiosity Mars rover triumphs - thanks to dedication and peanuts