Spirit arrives

Cheers and applause erupted in the Spirit mission control room at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory just before 9 p.m. Pacific Standard Time on Saturday evening. The mission team had just received an electronic signal from the Mars Exploration Rover named Spirit, confirming that it had come to rest safely in Gusev Crater on Mars. Spirit team members and NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe celebrated the space agency’s first successful landing on Mars since the Pathfinder mission and the Sojourner rover reached the martian surface in 1997. “We’re back!” O’Keefe proclaimed at a press conference about an hour after the landing.