Curiosity landing: Powered descent phase

Curiosity landing: Powered descent phase
Curiosity landing: Powered descent phase Artist's concept of Curiosity under its descent stage during the final minute before the rover touches down on the surface of Mars. NASA / JPL

The descent stage will provide rocket-powered deceleration for a phase of the arrival at Mars after the phases using the heat shield and parachute. The descent stage also carries the radar system providing a stream of information about the spacecraft's altitude and velocity. As it nears the surface, shortly after the moment depicted here, the descent stage will lower the rover on a bridle and deliver it to the ground.

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