After travelling 350 million miles since its launch last year, the latest, biggest and by far heaviest of NASA's Mars rovers called Curiosity safely touched down on Mars yesterday. It's loaded with instruments (including a really cool one called ChemCam that uses a laser to blow up bits of rock and then analyze the spectrum. That's right, we brought a laser cannon) and will operate for at least two years, snapping pictures and video along the way.
Particularly interesting about this mission was the unusual landing technique using a "sky crane maneuver", in which the rover was lowered on a tether that was attached to a flying crane hovering on rockets. There's a cool short CGI clip of the whole EDL (entry, descent and landing) sequence here.
Anyways, for $2.5 billion we now have this SUV-sized robot rolling around on Mars, which is pretty fucking amazing. Judging by the comments on various news sites, people's reactions seem to range from "we were going to send something to mars?" to "hey NASA good job not fucking it up for once" and of course the inevitable "this is such a waste of money".