After some seven months of interplanetary travel, NASA’s Mars rover, Spirit, has rolled to a full stop on the surface of the Red Planet.
"Sit back and enjoy the landing," said one controller as Spirit slashed through Mars' atmosphere. Ground controllers received a series of tones that showed the entry, descent and landing went by the book.
Bursts of applause broke out of mission control as the spacecraft began to feel the heat from atmospheric entry. Follow-on signals from Spirit told Earth operations that the parachute was fully deployed, with radar locking onto the Martian surface as the craft raced toward the surface.
Signals received from Spirit indicated that the spacecraft was alive on the ground and bouncing, perhaps bounding across the rocky terrain for several miles.
NASA also reported that Spirit's first task will be to rove around the Martian neighborhood, looking for Europe's lost Beagle.