NASA scientists have described Curiosity's descent and landing on Mars as a "miracle of engineering".
The one-ton laboratory perfectly executed its complicated and risky touchdown on Sunday for NASA's first astrobiology mission since the Viking probes in the 1970s.
Mission control engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory near Los Angeles cheered and applauded on confirmation that Curiosity had landed on the surface of the red planet.
Curiosity lead engineer Miguel San Martin said: "We trained ourselves for eight years to think the worst all the time. You can never turn that off."
NASA said the feat stood as the most challenging and elaborate achievement in the history of robotic spaceflight and opened the way for a new era in planetary exploration.
President Barack Obama hailed the accomplishment in the two-year, $2.5 billion project as a historic "point of national pride."
NASA scientists have been scanning early black and white images of the crater that may hold clues about whether life took hold on the planet.
In addition to the photographs, NASA has also released a video of the spacecraft's plunge through Mars' atmosphere.