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Mars Rover Landing Wows Onlookers in Times Square

TIMES SQUARE — New Yorkers got to gaze at the surface of Mars from the Crossroads of the World early Monday, as NASA’s rover Curiosity successfully touched down on the Red Planet about 1:30 a.m.

The rover’s historic landing — marking the beginning of an expedition to determine whether the planet ever had an environment capable of supporting life forms — wowed onlookers who gathered to see the event happen live in TImes Square.

The rover’s months-long, multimillion-mile journey to Mars, where it will collect ground samples and send images back to Earth over the next two years, was hailed by President Obama as a momentous occasion.

“The successful landing of Curiosity — the most sophisticated roving laboratory ever to land on another planet — marks an unprecedented feat of technology that will stand as a point of national pride far into the future,” Obama said in a statement.

“It proves that even the longest of odds are no match for our unique blend of ingenuity and determination.”