Curiosity EDL in pics, rover begins its mission

Curiosity is revving up her primary cameras and testing the treads. Soon she’ll trundle off the landing site and start prospecting for Martian gold. I’ve collected a few of the best EDL pics below.

NASA Curiosity homepage:

The sharp eye of the MRO snaps this breathtaking picture of the EDL package as the giant super sonic parachute is slowing Curiosity from hypersonic velocity to about several hundred miles per hour.

Artists’s illustration of the skycrane in action as the rover is being lowered. At this point the vehicle is only a dozen meters above the surface. One false move and …

Blast marks from the skycrane’s retrorockets. There four total, marking the corners of a square around Curiosity, suggesting the skycrane held steady and true while the rover was lowered by cables.

This disappearing plume of dust on the horizon was raised by the discarded skycrane crashing into the surface a few hunded meters away

Where did all that stuff end up? Close by, as this pic shows the final resting place of the main EDL components inside Gale Crater. Click to injuvenate and explanify.

I call this one Black & White Martian “gold”. Click for really big detailed image at NASA homepage.

And now, the science will begin, stay tuned!


  1. Gregory in Seattle says

    I am curious to know what measures were taken to avoid tests for metabolic processes from being tainted by microbiots carried on the probe from Earth. For that matter, what is the likelihood that microbiots carried to Mars by the Vikings and other probes have not already spread?

  2. The Lorax says

    The bloody website is broken for me, it won’t let me access the latest pics >.<

    I can't wait for the high res pans. Look at the navcam 360 pan, and tell me it doesn't feel weird seeing mountains all around you, and one giant one in front of you. We've come a long way from the Sea of Tranquility; we set this baby down in a bloody crater!

    I wonder what the long-term plans are. Certainly explore Gale Crater for all it's worth, but 10 or 15 years down the line, are they going to try to make their way out? Or maybe all the way to the top of Mount Sharp for a breathtaking panorama? I wonder if the rover could survive the trip…

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