The combination of the Mars Society and Planetary Society members at Pasadena Civic Auditorium experienced sighs, gasps, and applause during the “seven minutes of terror” leading to the Mars Curiosity rover’s safe landing. At 10:31, the crowd exploded in joy, standing on their seats in unison.
The Mars Rover Curiosity was stable, everybody learned, as live feed from NASA featured Jet Propulsion Laboratory workers hugging and jumping in the air. The atmosphere could not have been more jubilant.
PHOTOS: History of Mars exploration
“America, baby. We are No. 1,” chanted a few crowd members. Tears were not an uncommon sight as families from all over Los Angeles embraced.
“We did it, we did it!” echoed through the auditorium. Another wave of emotion hit as the first image from Mars ran across two large projection screens featured at the main stage of the room. One more wave of applause for the next image.
“USA! USA!” chanted the crowd, followed by an even louder “JPL! JPL!”
Tweets went out in massive proportions as people scurried to focus between their iPads, phones, and the two projection screens to simultaneously watch the action and report it.
“Now this is why we came here!” an audience member screamed.
Curiosity lands safely
As the whole world watched, JPL worked
Mars rover draws on nuclear power for trek around Red Planet