"TOUCHDOWN confirmed," said a member of mission control at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory as the room erupted in cheers. "We are wheels down on Mars. Oh, my God."
A dusty image of the rover's wheel on the surface, taken from a rear camera on the vehicle, confirmed the arrival of the car-sized rover and its sophisticated toolkit designed to hunt for signs that life once existed there.
A second image arrived within seconds, showing the shadow of the rover on Mars.
When the landing was announced after a tense, seven-minute process known as entry, descent and landing, the room filled with jubilation as the mission team cheered, exchanged hugs and chief scientists handed out Mars chocolate bars.
President Barack Obama described the feat as a singular source of American pride.
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