A Stunning High-Resolution Photo of Curiosity's Heat Shield Plummeting to the Martian Surface

The first high-res image we've seen of the Curiosity rover's descent. Just look at it.

heatshield_huge.png

What can you really say about this image from Mars? Nothing.

But I'll try. The best images are when human artifacts are presented against the Martian landscape. What's fascinating is that it's *our* technology that looks alien, not the empty world to which we've sent it. 

Here's the image's context: as the Rover descended to Mars, it jettisoned its heat shield, which fell to the Martian surface. As it went, the Rover took images with the Mars Descent Imager, known as MARDI. A few of these photographs have been released by NASA, but the bandwidth to Mars is rather limited, so we hadn't seen a single full-resolution frame from that camera. Until now. Because that's what you're looking at. Click on the photo to enlarge it and just pan around a little.

Emily Lakdawalla of the Planetary Society has a few more details and cleaned up the image above a tiny bit.

Update, 1:56pm: NASA's put out a full-resolution close-up of the heat shield. Behold!

heatshield_fullfull.jpg


Presented by

Does This Child Need Marijuana?

Dravet Syndrome is a severe form of epilepsy that affects children. Could marijuana oils alleviate their seizures?

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Does This Child Need Marijuana?

Inside a family's fight to use marijuana oils to treat epilepsy

Video

A Miniature 1950s Utopia

A reclusive artist built this idealized suburb to grapple with his painful childhood memories.

Video

Why Principals Matter

Nadia Lopez didn't think anybody cared about her school. Then the Internet heard her story.

Video

A History of Contraception

In the 16th century, men used linen condoms laced shut with ribbons.

Video

'A Music That Has No End'

In Spain, a flamenco guitarist hustles to make a modest living.

More in Technology

Just In