According to NASA, nylon cords lowered the rover to the ground in the "sky crane" maneuver and when the spacecraft sensed touchdown, the connecting cords were severed and the descent stage flew out of the way.
"The time of day at the landing site is mid-afternoon -- about 3 p.m. local Mars time at Gale Crater. The time at JPL's mission control is about 10:31 p.m. Aug. 5 PDT (early morning EDT)," said the agency.
As the most high-tech interplanetary rover ever built sent a signal to Earth on Sunday night, the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory rang out with cheers and applause.
Here's the first image from the Red Planet.
NASA's Curiosity rover has successfully landed on Mars at approximately 1.32 a.m. ET after completing journey of 352 million miles in 36 weeks. Photo: NASA