New NASA video captures drama of Mars landing

August 23, 2012

In this frame of a high definition stop motion video taken during the NASA rover Mars landing and provided by the space agency on Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012, the heat shield falls away during Curiosity's descent to the surface of Mars on Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012. Curiosity is the first spacecraft to record a landing on another planet. The six-wheel rover arrived on Aug. 5 to begin a two-year mission to examine whether the Martian environment was hospitable for microbial life. (AP Photo/NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)
(AP)—Viewers can now relive the drama of the Curiosity rover's landing on Mars with a new NASA video detailing the final moments of touchdown.

The space agency Thursday posted the video on its website embedded with audio from mission control. It starts with the heat shield falling away. The ground grows larger in view as Curiosity is lowered by cables inside an ancient Martian crater. "Touchdown confirmed" is heard followed by cheers.

Curiosity is the first spacecraft to record a landing on another planet. The six-wheel rover arrived on Aug. 5 to begin a two-year mission to examine whether the Martian environment was hospitable for microbial life.

NASA previously released a low-quality video of Curiosity's landing. The latest video is higher quality, but it's incomplete and missing several frames.

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5 / 5 (4) Aug 23, 2012
Here's the video:


The link is missing in the current version of the article. I'm sure this will be repaired, but here's the link for everyone who wants to enjoy the ride down to Mars right away.

It's quite an experience! We get to become passengers on Curiosity!

The heat shield separates. For a while we swing mildly back and forth under the parachute. There's a very, very slow spin.

The backshell and parachute are abandoned. We drop precipitously for a couple of seconds. Powered flight starts. We veer toward the upper left. We stabilize.

We drop at an ever slower pace. Clouds of dust rise.

The ground below darkens. Then: "Tango Delta!": Our wheels touch down!

But everybody is still holding their breaths. Everybody is hoping that the sky crane won't crash down on top of us!

After another eight seconds: "UHF is strong!" This confirms that all is well!

We're safe on Mars!

not rated yet Aug 23, 2012
When I wrote the above comment there was no video in the article.

But the version that I linked to has dramatically better picture quality than the article's version. The version that now sits in the article has gigantic pixels. It's the same video, but in an enormously downgraded version.

Weird! Why on Earth do they downgrade it?

In any case, I strongly suggest the linked video, for a much more enjoyable experience. Here's the same link again, so you don't have to scroll:


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