NASA's Curiosity rover and its parachute were spotted by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter as Curiosity descended to the surface on Aug. 5 PDT (Aug. 6 EDT). Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona
PASADENA, Calif. – An image from the High Resolution Imaging Science
Experiment (HiRISE) camera aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance orbiter
captured the Curiosity rover still connected to its 51-foot-wide (almost
16 meter) parachute as it descended towards its landing site at Gale
"If HiRISE took the image one second before or one second after, we
probably would be looking at an empty Martian landscape," said Sarah
Milkovich, HiRISE investigation scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion
Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "When you consider that we have been
working on this sequence since March and had to upload commands to the
spacecraft about 72 hours prior to the image being taken, you begin to
realize how challenging this picture was to obtain."
The image of Curiosity on its parachute can be found at:
The image was taken while MRO was 211 miles (340 kilometers) away from
the parachuting rover. Curiosity and its rocket-propelled backpack,
contained within the conical-shaped back shell, had yet to be deployed.
At the time, Curiosity was about two miles (three kilometers) above the
"Guess you could consider us the closest thing to paparazzi on Mars,"
said Milkovich. "We definitely caught NASA's newest celebrity in the