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Curiosity Hits New York: Hundreds Watch NASA TV Coverage of Mars Landing in Times Square (PHOTOS)

Travelers Today       By    Katie McFadden

Updated: Aug 06, 2012 12:05 PM EDT

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The engineers in the NASA control room weren't the only ones who were excited over Curiosity rover landing on Mars. Hundreds of people gathered in Times Square in New York City to watch history be made.

The historic moment of the Curiosity rover landing on Mars was broadcasted on the Toshiba Vision screen in Times Square, making it the largest East Coast location for the public to view the live coverage.

Beginning at 11:30 a small crowd gathered to watch the NASA TV coverage of Curiosity's journey.  As the predicted landing time of 1:31 a.m. neared, the crowd grew to close to a thousand after people heard about the public coverage from news sites, Reddit, TV broadcasts and from NASA representatives who handed out stickers on nearby street corners.

 "When you think of all the big news events in history, you think of Times Square, and I can think of no better venue to celebrate this news-making event on Mars," said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in a press release.

Those who gathered in Times Square were able to watch the action from Mission Control on Toshiba Vision dual LED screens.

"We're pleased the Toshiba Vision screens will offer a unique view of this great scientific achievement, the landing of the rover Curiosity on Mars," says Eddie Temistokle, senior manager of corporate communications and corporate social responsibility for Toshiba America Inc.

The viewers could hear the audio of the coverage by tuning in to the online radio station Third Rock Radio, which was streamed on the NASA homepage and on the TuneIn mobile app on smart phones and tablets.

The crowd in Times Square erupted into cheers every time Mission Control released an update, but the loudest cheer came when there was confirmation that Curiosity touched down in Mars. The crowds were chanting things like "NASA! NASA!" and "Science! Science!"

More cheers erupted when NASA showed the first photos taken by Curiosity.

"It felt great being here in Times Square with everyone around and everyone cheering," Owen Herterich, a student at Parsons School of Design in New York told Time. "I mean, I'm only 22 years old. This is my first big space moment."

Curiosity rover landed at 1:32 a.m. on the red planet. The project, which was delayed for several years, cost $2.5 billion. Curiosity will explore the planet for two years, searching for any signs of early life.

For a video of the coverage that the crowd watched, click here.

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