The dull, windowless room was full of happiness; and then the adrenalin and the coffee began to wear off, and they had to settle back again and wait through three anxious hours on Friday afternoon. When the first signals came through, many clenched their fists over their heads. The pleasure erupted all over again. Oh, to have the coffee franchise for JPL.
Then, when the first pictures came back, the scientists were awestruck. Many were children when Neil Armstrong landed on the Moon, and in university when Viking landed on Mars. "This is nirvana for us space guys," said flight systems manager Brian Muirhead.
"There could not be a happier scientist," said Matthew Golombek, alternatively smiling and gaping at the stunningly clear pictures of the Lander, the Rover and the rocks around it, stretching to the red horizon. "A spectacular place indeed."Reuse content