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Curiosity wins long distance gold - points for difficulty

6 August 2012

Curiosity wins long distance gold - extra points for degree of difficulty

Mars Society New Zealand (MSNZ) heartily congratulates NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) on the brilliantly successful landing of the Mars rover Curiosity on the red planet. To have overcome the many challenges in just getting Curiosity off the ground, let alone flying through space for 8 months and then touching down gently on the Martian surface after the "7 minutes of terror" is a remarkable feat, and one which they should rightfully be extremely proud of.

Karori, Wellington, residents and MSNZ members Trevor Anders and Beth Newbold were present at the 15th Annual Convention of the International Mars Society in Pasadena, California, at the headquarters of JPL, which is responsible for the Mars rover missions. The Convention included many top speakers from NASA and elsewhere, and the culminating highlight was a live feed from JPL of the entry of the spacecraft into the Martian atmosphere with confirmation of landing, followed by the first photos from the new landing site on Mars. Mr Anders said "It was fantastic being there with around 400 other enthusiasts seeing this drama unfold in real time and have such a successful outcome. The elation displayed on screen by the JPL team was mirrored by the Mars Society members."

Closer to home, MSNZ members Haritina Mogosanu and Mike White attended the live webcast show at Wellington's Carter Observatory, along with some of the KiwiMars 2012 crew, KiwiSpace founder Mark MacKay and about 200 enthusiastic public of all ages. "The audience were literally on the edge of their seats during the entire entry and descent" said Mike White, "and when the successful landing was confirmed, the place just erupted with applause and cheers!"

The many schoolchildren attending were very excited to be a part of it all too, and several were interviewed by the two TV crews after the landing, which added to the thrill of the event for them.

Our sincere thanks to the team at Carter Observatory for hosting this fantastic event, and helping to inspire our next generation of space explorers.

About the Mars Society
The Mars Society conducts advocacy, research and education to promote human exploration and eventual colonisation of Mars.
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