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NASA’s newest robotic explorer has landed safely on Mars after a nearly 300-million-mile journey that began on a Florida launch pad.

The agency’s Perseverance rover touched down on the Red Planet at 3:55 p.m. EST Thursday, bringing an end to the “seven minutes of terror” that saw a fiery atmospheric entry and parachute-assisted descent. The rover’s landing mechanism then fired eight retrorockets to slow down and guide it to a proper landing spot before using nylon cords to lower it onto the surface.

"Touchdown confirmed! Perseverance is safely on the surface of Mars, ready to begin seeking the signs of past life," exclaimed NASA engineer Swati Mohan.