NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has captured an impressive picture of the Curiosity rover’s nail-biting and extremely successful descent and landing. Image credit: NASA/JPL/MSSS
Image credit: NASA/JPL/MSSS
Curiosity Heat shield falls away from the bottom of Curiosity and the Sky Crane descent stage in this image from the MARDI camera. Image credit: NASA/JPL/MSSS
In the image above Gale Crater is 96 miles (154 kilometers) in diameter. Mount Sharp rises about 5.5 kilometers. The target landing area for NASA’s Curiosity is the marked ellipse, about 12 miles long and 4 miles wide (20 by 7 kilometers). Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ESA/DLR/FU Berlin/MSSS
The Curiosity Mars Descent Imager (MARDI) captured the rover’s descent to the surface of the Red Planet.
The instrument shot 4 fps video from heatshield separation to the ground. Credit: NASA/JPL/MSSS
“The image sequence received so far indicates Curiosity had, as expected, a very exciting ride to the surface, but as dramatic as they are, there is real other-world importance to obtaining them. These images will help the mission scientists interpret the rover’s surroundings, the rover drivers in planning for future drives across the surface, as well as assist engineers in their design of forthcoming landing systems for Mars or other worlds,” said Mike Malin, imaging scientist for the Mars Science Lab mission from Malin Space Systems in San Diego.