This is the first image that NASA’s Curiosity Rover snapped on the red planet. It shows “the shadow of the rover, securely positioned on the surface of the red planet; tt means that everything is ok, that the rover is on firm ground and ready to start moving when Mission Control gives the order.” Continue reading for a video and more information.

The arrival was an engineering tour de force, debuting never-before-tried acrobatics packed into “seven minutes of terror” as Curiosity sliced through the Martian atmosphere at 21,000km/h. In a Hollywood-style finish, cables delicately lowered the rover to the ground at a snail-paced 3km/h. A video camera was set to capture the most dramatic moments.

The extraterrestrial feat injected a much-needed boost to NASA, which is debating whether it can afford another Mars landing this decade. At a budget-busting $US2.5 billion $A2.37 billion, Curiosity is the priciest gamble yet, which scientists hope will pay off with a bonanza of discoveries.

[Sources 1 | 2]