Help Shape the Future of Space Exploration

Join The Planetary Society Now  arrow.png

Join our eNewsletter for updates & action alerts

    Please leave this field empty
Facebook Twitter Email RSS AddThis

Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla

Video, sound, and timeline of Curiosity's descent

Posted By Emily Lakdawalla

14-08-2012 16:56 CDT

Topics: podcasts and videos, Curiosity (Mars Science Laboratory)

This is a fantastic video, produced by Brian Lynch by combining the thumbnail images from Curiosity's Mars Descent Imager (MARDI) with the audio from the control room during landing night and a detailed timeline from Patrick Blau's

It's a wonderful example of a member of the public combining technical information from numerous sources to produce an illustration of an exciting event -- something that happens all the time at, where Brian posted it! This summer I gave a talk at both NASA Headquarters and the Applied Physics Laboratory about how missions really ought to sit up and take notice of the amazing illustration work being done by space enthusiasts with sophisticated technical skills and the ability to take raw, unprocessed data and use it to tell stories.

There was a Curiosity press briefing today; I probably won't get a writeup posted until tomorrow. In a nutshell, the rover's software upgrade is complete and they are "go" to continue with commissioning. This week, expect a Mastcam panorama that actually includes the top of the mountain, and expect to see the rover move for the first time, first by rotating its wheels in place and then by driving forward and backward a few meters. And HiRISE got a lovely color image of the rover on Sol 6. I need to go take that picture apart, pixel by pixel, and show you what I can see in it!

See other posts from August 2012


Read more blog entries about: podcasts and videos, Curiosity (Mars Science Laboratory)


Skywise88: 08/14/2012 05:20 CDT

The voice we are hearing from mission control here is Al Chen, EDL Operations and Flight Dynamics Lead for MSL at JPL.

DonInMaine: 08/14/2012 08:29 CDT

Can't wait to see the hi-res of this

Zorbonian: 08/14/2012 10:36 CDT

This is really well done! Love the timeline.

iamhondo: 08/15/2012 03:09 CDT

Did anyone else notice the dialogue proved that Emily L had the descent rockets named after her?? The so called "Mars Landing Engines" were conveniently shortened to "MLE".

alpha-helix: 08/15/2012 06:33 CDT

JPL makes it look sooo easy!! Beautiful, textbook perfect landing. Like a walk in the park, but it isn't! Beautiful.

slsturgi: 08/15/2012 07:06 CDT

That's really cool. Emily I'd like to show a "seven minutes of terror" flight path on Google Mars. Do you happen to have a link or a lead to flight path (coordinates, altitude, timestamp) data I could plot into a kml file? Of course, if someone already did that... Keep up the good work!

Emily: 08/17/2012 08:43 CDT

@iamhondo yeah, that "MLE" call makes me think they're calling my name all the time! @slsturgi: Not yet, as far as I know, but it'll be out there eventually.

Leave a Comment:

You must be logged in to submit a comment. Log in now.

Space in Images

Pretty pictures and
awe-inspiring science.

See More

Join The Planetary Society

Let’s explore the cosmos together!

Become a Member

Connect With Us

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more…
Continue the conversation with our online community!