As the Mars Curiosity Rover descended through the atmosphere of Mars the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter was watching — and taking amazing pictures. The MRO released an image of the rover descending today and I’m still trying to wrap my mind around just how cool it is. The photo shows the Curiosity Rover still attached to its parachute and before the heartstopping Sky Crane maneuver. The rover’s parachute (16 stories tall, 50 feet in diameter) was the largest ever flown outside the Earth. Check out the video below on how complicated the landing process was:
The math and computation required to figure out where the rover would descend, how the satellite could view the descent, etc… is beyond me, but I’ll be damned if the result isn’t cool. Go science!