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News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

NASA shows first ‘crime scene’ photo of Mars landing

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  About 36 hours after the US space agency’s landed its $2.5 billion rover on Mars, NASA released Tuesday what it called a “crime scene” aerial shot of where the parachute, heat shield and rover came down.

The touchdown on August 6 of the Mars Science Laboratory involved the most elaborate attempt yet to drop a robotic vehicle on the surface of the Red Planet, and required a heat shield, supersonic parachute and rocket-powered sky crane.

The process, known as entry, descent and landing, or EDL, was referred to as “Seven Minutes of Terror” by NASA, but went off without a hitch, in what President Barack Obama called an “unprecedented feat of technology.”

On approach, a heat shield protected the Curiosity rover’s fiery entry into Mars’ atmosphere, a parachute deployed to slow it down, and the spacecraft backshell separated.

Then, a rocket powered backpack was fired to power the one-ton rover downward before it was lowered by nylon tethers. The sky crane was designed to detach and fly away to crash somewhere to the north.

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