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

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

What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we still save the night sky?

Video

The Faces of #BlackLivesMatter

Scenes from a recent protest in New York City

Video

Desegregated, Yet Unequal

A short documentary about the legacy of Boston busing

Video

Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life

The Supreme Court justice talks gender equality and marriage.

Video

Social Media: The Video Game

What if the validation of your peers could "level up" your life?

Video

The Pentagon's $1.5 Trillion Mistake

The F-35 fighter jet was supposed to do everything. Instead, it can barely do anything.

More in Technology

Just In