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Emily LakdawallaMay 27, 2008

The HiRISE parachute image just got even better

They announced at this morning's press conference that yesterday, when they first looked at their photo of Phoenix under its parachute, the HiRISE team failed to really take in the context of the image. Well, here it is, and -- prepare to have to pick your jaw up off the floor.

Phoenix against Heimdall crater as it lands

NASA / JPL / U. Arizona

Phoenix against Heimdall crater as it lands
This amazing image was captured as Phoenix came in for its Mars landing on May 25, 2008. The HiRISE camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter pointed at Phoenix, which is seen here against the background of a 10-kilometer-diameter crater called Heimdall. The dramatic view makes it appear that Phoenix is falling into the crater, but in fact Phoenix was 20 kilometers closer to HiRISE than Heimdall, and it landed nowhere near the crater. The photo was taken 20 seconds after Phoenix' parachute opened.

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Emily Lakdawalla

Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist for The Planetary Society
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