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Nasa shows 1st 'crime scene' photo of Mars landing

Published on Aug 8, 2012 6:50 AM
 
This image released by Nasa on Aug 7, 2012, shows shows one of the first views from NASA's Curiosity rover, which landed on Mars. The image shows what lies ahead for the rover -- its main science target, Mount Sharp. The rover's shadow can be seen in the foreground, and the dark bands beyond are dunes. Rising up in the distance is the highest peak Mount Sharp at a height of about 5.4km, taller than Mount Whitney in California. -- PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - About 36 hours after Nasa landed its US$2.5 billion (S$3.1 billion) rover on Mars, it released on Tuesday what it jokingly dubbed a "crime scene" aerial shot of where the parachute, heat shield and vehicle came down.

The touchdown on Aug 6 of the Mars Science Laboratory involved the most elaborate attempt yet to drop a robotic car on the surface of the Red Planet, and required a heat shield, supersonic parachute and rocket-powered sky crane.

The process, known as entry, descent and landing, or EDL, was referred to as "Seven Minutes of Terror" by Nasa, but went off without a hitch, in what United States President Barack Obama called an "unprecedented feat of technology."

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

 
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