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Flying Saucers Over Mars!

Curiosity’s heat shield falls away to the Martian surface

It might not be a UFO per se but it’s definitely a flying disk from another planet — except in this case the other planet is Earth! This image, a high-resolution version of one sent back by Curiosity’s Mars Descent Imager on the morning of August 6, shows MSL’s  heat shield falling away, allowing the radar to get a lock on the descent stage’s position and altitude. Hey, it IS a saucer and it WAS flying… at least for a little while, anyway!

Check out a video of the event:

MSL’s 4.5-meter-wide heat shield is the largest ever built for a planetary mission. What we’re seeing here is the insulated inner-facing portion of it, shining in the sunlight high over the surface above Gale crater.

A few seconds after the above image was taken, the shield can be seen much farther away:

And here’s a video of the event, compiled with low-resolution thumbnail images:

As the days go on Curiosity is sending back more high-res images… keep up with the latest downloads on the MSL site here.

Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech. Adjusted to enhance detail and contrast.

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About Jason Major

Jason is a Rhode Island-based graphic designer, photographer, nature lover, space exploration fanatic, and coffee addict. In no particular order.

Posted on August 8, 2012, in Mars and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. After “Mars Attacks”, there’s… Earth Attacks !! 😉
    Jeff Barani from Vence (France)

    Like

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