This is truly amazing
Video using images from Curiosity's descent cameras (MARDI):
And a larger image from the HiRISE camera. It even managed to capture the heat-shield while it was still falling:
This takes me back to when Nasa launched Pathfinder : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_Pathfinder
Wasn't fun trying to download all those hi-res imagery via a 14.4 dialup link...
Maybe the next Rover after Curiosity will be a solar-power/nuclear hybrid? Should be interesting.
I know most people find the achievement of landing this thing on mars with robotics and computer programs to be the most amazing thing. And I really do find that amazing, but as always I find one other aspect far more incredible. The fact that they could slingshot and fire out an unmanned craft from earths orbit, across that vast and void gap, millions of miles across. To hit another planet's very precise orbiting belt, all while this planet is traveling at relative speeds that could never be achieved by anything on our planets surface, because air friction would pull it apart.
Reminds me of the line from Armageddon. "Its like hitting a fired bullet, with another bullet, while riding on horseback." (Paraphrased)
That achievement alone has always left me amazed.
i5-2500K 3.30GHz, Gigabyte Z68XP-UD3P Intel Z68,
GeForce GTX 560Ti, 8GB 1600 mhz,
120GB SSD, XFX Pro 550W, Corsair Carbide 400R midi tower
Or the matter of the entire entry and landing procedure being autonomous, with final descent being below the horizon as seen from Earth? Or being able to hit an 8km by 20km ellipse after having travelled 570,000,000km? Or coordinating the existing orbiting satellites to actually snap a freaking photograph of the freaking capsule and freaking parachute?"Space," it says, "is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mindbogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space..."
It's just an exercise in superlatives. Notwithstanding the fact that NASA could obviously make course corrections during the voyage, a commenter on Phil Plait's blog put it thusly: "This is equivalent to going to New York City and, from the top of the Empire State Building, throwing a single red blood cell (approximate size of the craft at this scale), having that red blood cell fly all the way to Orlando, Florida where it hits a dart board. And 250 meters from landing? That makes the comparison into: hits a dart board less than a millimeter from dead center. *jaw drops*"
I don't think it's too much of an exaggeration to say that it is one of humanity's most impressive achievements ever. Science, bitches... it works!
I think if I ever have a child, he/she is going to be named SkyCrane
HiRISE is amazing. They imaged all the impact points for the components - http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/ms.../PIA16001.html
From the orientation of where SkyCrane impacted it's very likely that the dust plume in the first Hazcam images was in fact the impact of SkyCrane. Not confirmed, but it lines up.
Also interesting the data rate of transmissions at the moment:
Through Odyssey - 8k
Through MRO - 32k
MRO can later be upped to 2 Mbits if everything pans out.
Total amount of data from Curiosity downloaded so far is about 5MB.
Originally Posted by reactor_sa