Though history has been made and Curiosity is now safely on Mars to stay, the tension is well preserved in the video. Watching this live, I could feel my heart hestiate when powered flight began and at the call "standing by for skycrane." The wild emotional outburst 12 minutes in, when "touchdown confirmed" goes out on the comm loop, is something rare, something I wish happened more often in my life and for people in general. Wonderful.
Next, the video from Mars:
When the previous craft to land on Mars, Viking, Pathfinder, Spirit, Opportunity, and Phoenix, eased their way down to the surface, they were going to a place as real as as the canyons of Arizona that so closely resemble the Martian terrain. Still, there's an air of mystery around a process no one's ever really seen unfold. It's temptingly easy to allow the notion of a rover landing on Mars to become an idea, an academic notion without a charged sensory experience attached to it. Now that this video's been taken, a close electronic proxy for that sensory experience now exists.
Make no mistake. This event really happened, and was breathtaking. Amazing.