Curiosity has landed. On Mars. Ponder that for a moment. We are now on Mars. A whole 'nother FRAKKING PLANET. This isn't the first time we've been to Mars, Spirit and Opportunity came before and worked long after it was supposed to. But this is by far the largest rover we've put on mars. I believe it's the size of a SUV.

The most awesome part is the decent in my opinion. Dubbed the "Seven minutes of terror," there's a 14 minute delay with Curiosity because of how far it is and the time it takes for the radio signals to reach back to Earth. That means when we get the signal that the rover has hit the atmosphere, in real time, it's actually on the planet and we have no idea whether or not it made it there in one piece. Luckily, seven minutes later, we got the news that it landed in one piece and fully functional. This is exciting.

Here's a video on just what it took to land on Mars and by no means is it a small feat:

The landing itself is a fucking miracle. First we're flying through the atmosphere generating 1600 degrees of heat and coming in at over 11000 mph. There's a heat shield that'll protect the rover until we're down to about 2000 mph. (It's slowed down by the atmosphere but it's not enough.) Then a supersonic parachute deploys. The whole thing going at around 2000 mph and the snap back from the parachute hitting 9 Gs. Then there's the rockets. ROCKETS! To slow it down even more since the parachute will only slow it down to 200 mph! By Thor's Hammer, we have a frigging piece called a "Sky Crane!" It's the Sky Crane that gently deposits the rover on the ground ... then flies away.

Here's a link to an animation of the whole thing: http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/multimedia/interactives/edlcuriosity/index-2.html