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experts react to the landing of the Mars Curiosity rover

Nasa’s Curiosity rover touched down safely in Gale Crater on Mars following a complex landing sequence, to the relief of everyone involved.

 

Dr Stephen Lewis, the Open University, said:

“This is a spectacular technological achievement and opens the way to ambitious exploration of Mars with more sophisticated spacecraft than was previously possible. Mars Curiosity science will tell us much more about the past history of Mars, its climate, how it changed and whether it was ever habitable.”

 

Professor Sanjeev Gupta, Imperial College London, said:

“Now that the MSL has landed we can get to grips with some remarkable science. The area the rover will be exploring, with its large areas of exposed rock and variety of landforms will take us on a journey through geological time. With the extraordinary volume of data MSL can produce we will be able to reconstruct how the rocks and climate of this region have changed through time.”

 

Dr John Bridges, University of Leicester, said:

“The science community has been given a very valuable chance to move forward our understanding of how Mars has evolved. How long did wet conditions last and were there standing bodies of water on Mars? I hope the effective combination in MSL of science objectives and space engineering will point the way towards more exploration of the Solar System and technological innovations.”

 

Sue Horne, Head of Exploration at the UK Space Agency, said:

“The fact that NASA have managed to successfully demonstrate such a novel landing system is an inspiration for everyone involved in space exploration. Now we can breathe a sigh of relief and look forward to the exciting scientific discoveries to come from Curiosity. The mission paves the way for future Mars exploration, and hopefully the future of Mars Sample Return.”

 

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