At 1:32 a.m. Monday, Eastern Daylight Time, flight controllers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL), via a Deep Space Network antenna dish in Australia, received confirmation that the Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity, had landed successfully. The landing has sparked a wave of scientific optimism, in the U.S., and around the world. Lyndon LaRouche observed that this success has “vindicated science against Obama.” Indeed, Obama’s comment on the spectacular Mars landing, which will be the last one for a long time if his budget cuts stand, was that this is somehow comparable to his only NASA initiative—a dangerous program to use commercial companies to send astronauts in to Earth orbit! NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden on the other hand, observed that Curiosity has begun to “blaze the trail for human footprints on Mars.”
At mission control at JPL in Pasadena, there were 1,400 “scientists, engineers and dignitaries” waiting nervously for landing confirmation. At the nearby California Institute of Technology, 5,000 people gathered, and hundreds of people had gathered in New York’s Times Square to watch the live broadcast from NASA. Twitter broadcasts from the event report that the New York crowd began cheering “SCI-ENCE, SCI-ENCE, SCI-ENCE!” as the landing was confirmed, and show a spontaneous outbreak of the Star Spangled Banner in the crowd. Late last week a 5 minute video, “Seven Minutes of Terror,” an animation of the complex Mars landing, went viral on the Internet, with over 1.3 million views by Sunday, Aug. 5.
In South Africa, the space agency invited people to come to one of its telescope facilities, to watch NASA’s coverage of the landing live. At the European Space Agency’s operation center in Germany, scientists and researchers joined their NASA colleagues in cheers.
At a briefing from JPL this evening, members of the science team released a stunning first-look low-resolution black-and-white photo of Mt. Sharp, a three-mile-high mountain, just 6.5 kilometers from the rover, the prime target of Curiosity.
Lyndon LaRouche said after the landing that we, as humanity, must move to create new platforms in Mars orbit. The Strategic Defense of Earth, in many dimensions, depends upon mankind’s commitment to do that. And Curiosity is a testament to the needed ability of the creative capabilities of mankind.
A video of the 10-minute countdown to landing at Mission Control can be seen here: http://forums.eagle.ru/showthread.php?p=1524912