New video shows Curiosity’s Mars landing
A Hollywood movie has nothing on Curiosity’s Mars landing. This artist’s rendering shows the sky crane lowering the rover to the surface.
By INGRID ROJAS
Today NASA released the first color video of the rover Curiosity’s dramatic Mars landing of this past Sunday August 5th. Captured with a camera hoisted on the rover’s chassis, the short video provides a first glimpse of the Red Planet’s surface and will help scientists develop future landing systems.
Although the video is pixelated and small, it shows the rover’s protective shield separating and then a cloud of dust billowing as the rover’s exhaust from the 742 pounds of thrust rockets blows on the Martian surface.
A NASA press release states that as communication between the rover and master control in San Diego improve in the coming days, higher resolution images are expected to provide “the most complete and dramatic imagery of a planetary landing in the history of exploration.”
Mike Malin, imaging scientist for the Mars Science Lab mission in San Diego compared this video to “that grainy onboard film from Apollo 11 when they were about to land on the moon.”
Curiosity is a roving laboratory the size of a compact car, and it landed on Mars this past Sunday after an eight month journey. Landing of the one-ton rover required extraordinary efforts as it had to go from 13,000 mph to zero in seven minutes. Click here to see the dramatic moments inside NASA’s mission control during landing.