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First images emerge of NASA Curiosity rover’s manoeuvres during ‘seven minutes of terror’

Posted by satyrikon στο Αυγούστου 6, 2012

Originally posted on National Post | News:

PASADENA, Calif. — The robotic explorer Curiosity’s daring plunge through the pink skies of Mars was more than perfect. It landed with spectacular style, said a NASA scientist who described the first images of its gymnastics through the so-called «seven minutes of terror.»

Hours after the U.S. space agency learned the rover had arrived on target late Sunday, engineers and scientists got the first glimpses of the intricate manoeuvres it made to hit the Martian soil safely.

[np-related]

«It’s a spectacular image,» said NASA research scientist Luther Beegle. The photo, taken from an orbiting Mars spacecraft, shows Curiosity dangling from its supersonic parachute as it descended.

Extraordinary efforts were needed for the landing because the rover weighs about one tonne, and the Martian atmosphere is very thin, not offering much friction to slow the spacecraft down.

The arrival was an engineering tour…

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