NASA's robotic explorer called Curiosity is on Mars, beaming black-and-white images of the red planet.
Curiosity landed successfully in a crater overnight, drawing cheers, applause and some tears at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Over the next two years, the rover will travel the crater floor, scooping up soil and looking for signs of life.
One photo shows the improved image after engineers removed dust covers on the rover's lens. "This is a new place on Mars. Here, we go on vacation to see a different part of the Earth, it's on our own planet. Here we're seeing a part of mars we've never seen before," says Michael Watkins.
They also released a photo showing the rover descending with a supersonic parachute toward the red planet.
It will be several days before the rover's mast-camera will begin to send high-resolution color images from Mars.
NASA's seventh landing on Mars is being called an engineering tour de force, using never-before-tried acrobatics with a Hollywood-style finish.
NASA described Curiosity's descent as "seven minutes of terror." It was soaring at 13,000 miles per hour before the chute opened and slowed it down. Then a rocket propelled landing platform lowered the rover onto the surface of Mars.
Over the next few days, engineers will give the rover a series of long-distance checkups to make sure all of its systems are working.
President Obama called the landing "an unprecedented feat of technology, and thanked the NASA workers who made the mission possible.