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Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter HiRISE has done it again!!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla

06-08-2012 10:42 CDT

Topics: pretty pictures, pics of spacecraft in space, spacecraft, Mars, Curiosity (Mars Science Laboratory), Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

In 2008, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter snapped an amazing photo of Phoenix descending to the surface of Mars under its parachute. Now it's repeated the feat, with Curiosity. I think this image pretty much speaks for itself. Absolutely stunning.

Curiosity descending under parachute

NASA / JPL / UA

Curiosity descending under parachute
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is two for two in the amazing feat of capturing photos of landers descending to the surface of Mars. This version was released several days after the landing; it has been corrected for optical blur.

For more on how this image was taken -- and how hard it was -- check out Eric Hand's article at Nature News.

I want you to sit back and think about what was going on when this was taken. Both spacecraft were operating totally autonomously, based upon commands uplinked to them a long time before. (Some timing parameters were updated hours before.) This is a spaceship at Mars, and we have a photo of it in action, just minutes before its historic landing. Incredible.

And beautiful.

This image leaked before it should have. There's a press briefing coming up in 16 minutes (as I write this). I hope to see a wider view of it at the briefing. Stay tuned!

 
See other posts from August 2012

 

Or read more blog entries about: pretty pictures, pics of spacecraft in space, spacecraft, Mars, Curiosity (Mars Science Laboratory), Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

Comments:

Michael Stat: 08/06/2012 06:44 CDT

I'd love to see the calculations/math that made this photo possible. I bet it's beyond anything I could understand, but it would be fun to try.

DeanM: 08/06/2012 08:35 CDT

Truly wonderful - what a remarkable achievement! I'm guessing that when MRO similarly images MSL2.0 doing EDL in a few years' time, we'll see advertising on the 'chute....! Dean

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