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
The Bruce Murray Space Image Library

Curiosity descends under parachute

Filed under Curiosity (Mars Science Laboratory), art

Go Back

Curiosity descends under parachute Artist's concept of the Curiosity rover descending toward Mars under an open parachute.


Curiosity will use the largest parachute ever built to fly on a planetary mission. The parachute uses a configuration called disk-gap-band. It has 80 suspension lines, measures more than 50 meters) in length, and opens to a diameter of nearly 16 meters. The parachute is designed to survive deployment at Mach 2.2 in the Martian atmosphere.

The parachute is attached to the top of the backshell portion of the spacecraft's aeroshell. In the scene depicted here, the heat shield portion of the aeroshell has been jettisoned and Curiosity is visible tucked into the backshell. The spacecraft's descent stage is also inside the backshell. When the backshell drops away, a radar system on the descent stage can begin determining the spacecraft's altitude and velocity.

Most NASA images are in the public domain. Reuse of this image is governed by NASA's image use policy.


Other Related Images


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!