Curious about Curiosity's mission on Mars?
Mon, 06 Aug 2012 12:39:59 GMT — COLUMBIA (WACH/AP) -- The most high-tech Mars rover ever built has landed on the red planet.
NASA says it received a signal from the Curiosity rover early Monday morning ET after a plunge through the Martian atmosphere described as "seven minutes of terror."
"I'm safely on the surface of Mars. GALE CRATER I AM IN YOU!!!," the account tweeted just after landing.
The rover is the size of a small car, so engineers had to come up with a new way to set it down. For the first time, cables were used to lower the rover inside of a giant crater.
NASA released video of their crews celebrating the sucessful trip to Mars and landing.
According to the Mars Science Laboratory, Curiosity will pick up where other Mars rovers left off. Beyond signs of water, the rover will look for rocks and minerals that hold clues to whether Mars ever could have supported small life forms called microbes.
Among Curiosityâ??s tools are seventeen cameras, a laser to zap rocks, and a drill to collect rock samples.
For more about Curiosity's tools and mission, check out NASA's 3D Interactive Rover.
Curiosity is expected to work for one Martian year, or about two Earth years.
At $2.5 billion, it's the most ambitious and priciest Mars mission yet.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)