Mars rover captures crash landing

2012-08-11 10:00
(file, AP)

(file, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Pasadena - Nasa said on Friday that a mysterious spot shown on a photograph sent back to Earth by the Mars rover Curiosity was the crash landing of its rocket stage.

Scientists and enthusiasts were furiously speculating since Monday about the nature of the small spot that looked like a dust cloud in a picture Curiosity snapped seconds after it parked in a crater.

The smudge disappeared in a photo taken 40 minutes later.

"It was a wonderful coincidence" that the car-sized rover was able to capture the impact, said engineer Steve Sell of the US space agency's jet propulsion laboratory, which is managing the $2.5bn mission.

A heat shield protected the Curiosity rover during its fiery entry into Mars's atmosphere, a supersonic parachute deployed to slow it down and the spacecraft back shell separated.

A rocket-powered backpack was then fired before the one-ton rover was lowered to the surface by nylon tethers. The sky crane was designed to detach and crash somewhere to the north.

"It's just interesting from an engineering standpoint. The thing hit the ground pretty hard [160km/h]," Sell told AFP about the backpack.

"Our predictions were right on, and it allows us to know that we did a good job with our models."

NASA researchers have fine-tuned their analysis of the data Curiosity sent back on its last few minutes of flight. They said the exact time of the landing was 05:31 GMT on Monday and not 05:32 GMT as initially announced.

Curiosity was also found to have landed about 2.25km to the east of where it had been expected to touch down, "which is very close", Nasa engineer Gavin Mendeck said.

The Mars Science Laboratory is a nuclear-powered vehicle that is designed for a two-year mission on Mars to hunt for signs of past life, though scientists hope it will last at least twice that long.

- SAPA
Read more on:    nasa  |  us  |  space  |  research
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
11 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Africa: Land of Billionaires!

Find out who are the richest of the richest in Africa!

 
 

Men24.com

Best bro movies 2014
Every man should be able to do these three things
Goalkeeper saves five penalties with his FACE!
Hottie of the day: Jesselyn

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Hot festive offers at kalahari.com!

Hurry! Stocks are limited. Don’t miss out. Shop Now!

Save up to 60% on toys!

Don’t miss out on this hot offer, save up to 60% on toys. While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may feel divided. Conflict between mind and emotions can create tension or indecision. This could lead to stressful feelings...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.