Artist's impression of Curiosity landing on Mars.

Phew! Curiosity landed safely on Mars. Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Written by Sarah Kellett

When the rover Curiosity landed on Mars on 6 August (AEST), Australia was listening. Between hitting the atmosphere and landing safely, there were ‘seven minutes of terror’. Then, mission scientists heard the good news.

When landing in Gale Crater, Curiosity sent out a unique set of tones heard by the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex, a tracking station managed by CSIRO on behalf of NASA. The CSIRO Parkes telescope (‘The Dish’) also received signals on Monday, as a backup.

Curiosity’s mission is to detect whether Mars could ever have supported microbial life.

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