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News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

NASA Has Plenty to Celebrate After Mars Rover Curiosity's Perfect Landing

• Rebecca Boyle via PopSci.com
 Long minutes of thunderous applause greeted the managers and engineers who paraded into an auditorium here Sunday night, triumphant after a perfect landing on another world. The Mars rover Curiosity sent a picture from the Martian surface just moments after its self-piloted descent and airdrop, and everyone assembled at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory could not help but cheer. It's a huge moment for NASA, which delivered the rover over budget and two years late -- but delivered it, and beautifully.

Nothing is harder than landing on Mars, and no one does it better than the United States, said Charles Bolden, NASA's administrator. In a few moments of proud flag-waving, Bolden, White House science adviser John Holdren and others trumpeted the space agency's momentous achievement.

"Tonight, there are at least 4 countries, and I won't name them, who are on Mars. And they're on Mars because they went with the United States," Bolden said. "Our leadership is going to make this world better."

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