Mars rover Curiosity sends images, video

A video shows the rover's descent onto the red planet, while a photo captures its surroundings

A short, low resolution video captured the final minutes of Mars rover Curiosity's descent onto the planet. At the beginning of the clip the 15-foot wide heat shield can be seen separating from the capsule carrying the rover.

The images were recorded by the Mars Descent Imager, or MARDI, and pieced together at four frames per second to detail the final two and a half minutes of the rover's descent. According to NASA, the images needed to be reduced by a factor of eight in order for them to be sent back to Earth quickly. Higher resolution images (1600 by 1200) will be beamed to Earth in the coming months.

During the descent the passing Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter snapped a shot of the rover's supersonic parachute, which was designed to slow it from 900 miles per hour to around 200 miles per hour. The separated heat shield can be seen falling towards the surface.

The rover also sent a picture that shows the north wall and rim of Gale Crater, the section of the planet where Curiosity touched down. The image is murky because the dust cover on the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) hasn't been removed. During the descent, dust kicked up by the Sky Crane's rockets coated the lens, but the protective cover will be removed in the coming weeks. MAHLI's main purpose is to capture close-ups of rocks and soil -- it can focus as close as 2.1 centimeters -- but can also focus to infinity, allowing it to capture images like the one of the Martian landscape.

Curiosity's mission on Mars will last about two years and as NASA scientists enable more of the rover's imaging systems, higher resolution photos are expected in the coming days.

Nick Barber covers general technology news in both text and video for IDG News Service. E-mail him at Nick_Barber@idg.com and follow him on Twitter at @nickjb.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Nick Barber

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?