PASADENA, California - The Associated Press
‘The full video will just be exquisite,’ says Michael Malin, the chief scientist. AFP photo
NASA’s Curiosity rover has transmitted a low-resolution video showing the last 2 1/2 minutes of its white-knuckle dive through the Martian atmosphere, giving earthlings a sneak peek of a spacecraft landing on another world.
As thumbnails of the video flashed on a big screen on Aug. 6, scientists and engineers at the NASA
Jet Propulsion let out “oohs” and “aahs.” The recording began with the protective heat shield falling away and ended with dust being kicked up as the rover was lowered by cables inside an ancient crater.
It was a sneak preview, since it’ll take some time before full-resolution frames are beamed back depending on other priorities.
The full video “will just be exquisite,” said Michael Malin, the chief scientist of the instrument.
NASA celebrated the precision landing of a rover on Mars and marveled over the mission’s flurry of photographs - grainy, black-and-white images of Martian gravel, a mountain at sunset and, most exciting of all, the spacecraft’s white-knuckle plunge through the red planet’s atmosphere.
Curiosity, a roving laboratory the size of a compact car, landed on target Aug. 5 after an eight-month, 566-million-kilometer journey. It parked its six wheels about six kilometers from its ultimate science destination Mount Sharp, rising from the floor of Gale Crater near the equator.