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'Curiosity' Has Successful Landing on Mars

The NASA vehicle beams back images from the Red Planet after landing early Monday.

The NASA rover Curiosity successfully carried out a challenging landing on Mars early Monday, Aug. 6, transmitting images back to Earth after traveling hundreds of millions of miles through space, according to media reports.

The $2.6 billion rover made its dramatic arrival on Martian terrain in a spectacle popularly known as the "seven minutes of terror," according to CNN.com.

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The initial images that the SUV-sized rover sent back to Earth were black and white and grainy, but one showed its wheel resting on the stony ground and the vehicle's shadow appeared in another. Larger color images are expected later in the week, NASA said.

The spacecraft had been traveling from Earth since Nov. 26, 2011, on the approximately 352 million miles (567 million kilometers) journey to Mars, according to NASA.

FOX News reported that over the next two years, Curiosity will drive to a mountain rising from the crater floor, poke into rocks and scoop up rust-tinted soil to see if the region ever had the right environment for microscopic organisms to thrive. It's the latest chapter in the quest to find out whether primitive life arose early in the planet's history.

And yes, the rover got into social media, transmitting a picture via this tweet: "Once more, without the clear dust cover. Here's the "fisheye" pic from my rear Hazcam #MSL http://twitpic.com/ag43lt 

Additional images and video from the Mars rover can be seen here.

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