Curiosity Parachute Landing Spotted by NASA Orbiter [detail]

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    NASA image captured Aug. 5, 2012

    View a close up detail of this image here:

    NASA's Curiosity rover and its parachute were spotted by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter as Curiosity descended to the surface on Aug. 5 PDT (Aug. 6 EDT). The High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera captured this image of Curiosity while the orbiter was listening to transmissions from the rover. Curiosity and its parachute are in the center of the white box; the inset image is a cutout of the rover stretched to avoid saturation. The rover is descending toward the etched plains just north of the sand dunes that fringe "Mt. Sharp." From the perspective of the orbiter, the parachute and Curiosity are flying at an angle relative to the surface, so the landing site does not appear directly below the rover.

    The parachute appears fully inflated and performing perfectly. Details in the parachute, such as the band gap at the edges and the central hole, are clearly seen. The cords connecting the parachute to the back shell cannot be seen, although they were seen in the image of NASA's Phoenix lander descending, perhaps due to the difference in lighting angles. The bright spot on the back shell containing Curiosity might be a specular reflection off of a shiny area. Curiosity was released from the back shell sometime after this image was acquired.

    This view is one product from an observation made by HiRISE targeted to the expected location of Curiosity about one minute prior to landing. It was captured in HiRISE CCD RED1, near the eastern edge of the swath width (there is a RED0 at the very edge). This means that the rover was a bit further east or downrange than predicted.

    The image scale is 13.2 inches (33.6 centimeters) per pixel .

    HiRISE is one of six instruments on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The University of Arizona, Tucson, operates the orbiter's HiRISE camera, which was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colo. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, built the spacecraft.

    Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

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    DANI28256, Karsten of the Island, and 102 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    1. °Florian 21 months ago | reply

      Amazing image. Any way you could post a copy of this image without the box around Curiosity?

    2. lunamtra 21 months ago | reply

      What a mission! Congrats!

    3. Gerry Gutteridge 21 months ago | reply

      Truly outstanding work..... Congrats... Gerry

    4. Michael Fumarolo 21 months ago | reply

      Awesome! Congrats to everyone on the Curiosity crew.

    5. *JRFoto* 21 months ago | reply

      We come in peace:)

    6. BoblyP 21 months ago | reply

      This is just utterly astonishing! I saw the close up on the NASA site - AMAZING!

    7. msamaclean © 21 months ago | reply


    8. jmarkdeb 21 months ago | reply

      Congrats!!! Wonderful work NASA!

      Why are the rover pictures black and white considering technology advances since the last rover? Is it specific to post processing accuracy?

    9. Wind Watcher 21 months ago | reply

      A first - capture of active landing on a planet in out solar system. Stunning timing, aiming and coordination with multiple moving geometries. Well done! On to some good science on Mars!

    10. likes2gohiking 21 months ago | reply

      I saw this on the news last night. I look forward to seeing more images. I think the Rovers are really cool.

    11. mpmark 21 months ago | reply

      congrats on the mission and the amazing images, can't wait to see the rovers images of the surface and its findings!!! you guys rock...

    12. Derek_Custer 21 months ago | reply

      Superb image.

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