Photos illustrate Mars rover’s precise landing
PASADENA, Calif. — The robotic explorer Curiosity’s daring plunge through the pink skies of Mars was more than perfect. It landed with spectacular style, said a NASA scientist, describing the first images of its mechanical gymnastics.
Hours after NASA learned the rover had arrived on target, engineers and scientists got the first glimpses of the intricate maneuvers it made to hit the Martian soil safely.
“It’s a spectacular image,” said NASA research scientist Luther Beegle. The photo, taken from an orbiting Mars spacecraft, shows Curiosity dangling from its supersonic parachute as it descended.
Extraordinary efforts were needed for the landing because the rover weighs one ton, and the Martian atmosphere is very thin, not offering much friction to slow the spacecraft down.
More images, including video of the landing and beautiful color shots of Mars, will follow in days to come. It will be weeks before Curiosity starts digging into the red planet’s past.
Read More. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)