Caught on Camera: America's Curiosity Landing on Mars

By Staff | August 6, 2012 | 6:08pm EDT

( - As NASA's Curiosity roving laboratory was descending via parachute toward a very complicated landing on Mars on Sunday, it was captured in a photograph by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment--AKA HiRISE--which rides on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter was originally launched by the United States on Aug. 12, 2005. It arrived near Mars and went into orbit around that planet in March 2006.

The primary mission of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is to study the history of water on Mars.

But, late yesterday Pacific Daylight Time, it recorded a remarkable moment in the history of U.S. exploration of space as America's Curiosity approached its landing site on the surface of Mars.

NASA's Curiosity rover and its parachute were spotted by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter as Curiosity descended to the surface on Aug. 5 PDT (Aug. 6 EDT). (NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona)

Once Curiosity had safely landed on Mars, it began taking photographs of its own and transmitting them back to the United States of America.

This is one of the first photographs taken on Mars by NASA's Curiosity rover on Aug. 6, 2012. (NASA Photo)

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