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Curiosity Sends Back Surprise Hazcam Pics

Here are a pair of images from Curiosity's left rear hazcam and left front hazcam, respectively. We weren't expecting any front hazcam images this early, and we also weren't expecting such high resolution images, so this is really really amazing, and here at JPL people are going nuts. Oh, and they're also handing out Mars bars.

As soon as we're done being nuts and scarfing candy, we'll get settled in for the press conference, which should be full of good news! We'll likely have an update for you before midnight.

The official landing time, for those of you keeping track, was 10:32PM. And at least from here, it looked like everything went almost flawlessly.

SUCCESS: Curiosity Lands Safely on Mars After Epic Descent

We'll have lots more for you later, but YES, according the data we have so far, the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity has successfully landed at Gale Crater on Mars! The mood here at JPL is absolutely insane! The press conference should start soon, and we'll get you all the details as soon as we can, along with pics as soon as they're available.


What JPL Has to Hear Before They Celebrate

JPL held a couple press conferences today, giving a final overview of the EDL (Entry, Descent, and Landing) procedures. Engineers related a whole bunch of interesting info, and we've summarized it all right here for you. It's a good read while you're waiting for that 10:31 PM touchdown.

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MSL: When We'll See the First New Pictures from the Surface of Mars

After Curiosity successfully lands on Mars, the first thing everybody (including us) is going to want to know is when we'll get the first pictures back from the surface. Curiosity has a whole bunch of cameras, ranging from small hazard avoidance cameras on her body up to HD cameras on her mast, but in the first few hours and days communications will be limited. We'll tell you what you can expect to see first, and the general schedule for image releases going forward.

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Video Friday: Are You Ready For Mars?

Late Sunday night, west coast time, NASA's Curiosity rover, one of the most sophisticated (and expensive) robots that the world has ever seen, will attempt to land on the surface of Mars. If you've been living under a rock that's been living under another rock that's actually on Mars, there's a chance that you haven't heard about what's going to happen. So today, we're going to fill you in with a bunch of videos.

Oh, and we'll also be on the ground at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. (where the mission control is located) in person to bring you the show live as it happens.

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Next-Gen Zeno R-50 Puts a Face on Research Robots

Hanson Robotics is well known for its family of robots with delicately engineered, highly expressive faces made out of something that isn't called Flubber. At anywhere from $8,500 to $14,500, this level of sophistication doesn't come cheap, but a new model of Zeno the robotic boy has dropped some hints about a new generation of smaller cousins which will be much less expensive.

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This Robot Can Somehow Jump on Water

The crazier parts of the scientific community have long declared anything that can walk on water to be possessed by black magic, lizards and bugs included. But black magic or no, roboticists at the Harbin Institute of Technology in China have managed to make it work on a robotic insect that, in addition to walking on water, can also jump.

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XRL Hexapod Robot Gets a Tail, Learns to Use It

In January, we wrote about some spectacular research from UC Berkeley exploring what happens when you give a little wheeled robot a controllable tail, like a lizard. As it turns out, robots with tails can fly through the air while maintaining their orientation, and now other robotic platforms are testing out this technique, thanks to a collaboration between UC Berkeley and the University of Pennsylvania.

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