PASADENA, Calif. (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 Sunday night after a plunge through the Martian atmosphere described as "seven minutes of terror."
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.
GET A GLIMPSE: Photo Gallery On Curiosity Rover
HOW IT WORKS: Take A Look Under The Hood On Curiosity
At $2.5 billion, it's the most ambitious and priciest Mars mission yet. For the next two years, the rover will drill into rocks and scoop up soil. It will be exploring whether the planet's environment could have supported life in the form of microscopic organisms.
Statement by the President Obama:
"Tonight, on the planet Mars, the United States of America made history.
The successful landing of Curiosity - the most sophisticated roving laboratory ever to land on another planet - marks an unprecedented feat of technology that will stand as a point of national pride far into the future. It proves that even the longest of odds are no match for our unique blend of ingenuity and determination.
Tonight's success, delivered by NASA, parallels our major steps forward towards a vision for a new partnership with American companies to send American astronauts into space on American spacecraft. That partnership will save taxpayer dollars while allowing NASA to do what it has always done best - push the very boundaries of human knowledge. And tonight's success reminds us that our preeminence - not just in space, but here on Earth - depends on continuing to invest wisely in the innovation, technology, and basic research that has always made our economy the envy of the world.
I congratulate and thank all the men and women of NASA who made this remarkable accomplishment a reality - and I eagerly await what Curiosity has yet to discover."