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Not aliens after all: NASA reveals mystery behind early Curiosity rover photo

Posted by satyrikon στο Αυγούστου 10, 2012

Originally posted on National Post | News:

REUTERS/NASA/JPL-Caltech/Handout

National Post Graphics

PASADENA, Calif. — The mysterious Mars photo has been solved.

A NASA engineer said Friday he’s pretty sure a Curiosity rover camera caught the rocket stage crashing in the distance after it landed in Gale Crater Sunday night.

A grainy, black-and-white picture taken about 40 seconds after landing shows a plume of dust in the distance. It’s not visible in a picture taken nearly an hour later.

The Internet was abuzz over the photo for days.

Curiosity touched down on Mars using a new landing technique. During the last few seconds, a rocket stage hovered and slowly lowered the six-wheel rover to the ground. The rocket stage then flew away and crashed.

Engineers say a preliminary reconstruction of the landing reveals everything went according to plan.

Four days into its Martian mission, NASA’s Curiosity rover “continues to behave basically flawlessly,” said mission manager Mike Watkins.

Which…

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