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Heat Shield, Meet Mars

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Published on Aug 17, 2012

This sequence of images shows the heat shield from NASA's Mars Science Laboratory hitting the ground on Mars and raising a cloud of dust. The images were taken by the Mars Descent Imager on the mission's Curiosity rover while the rover was still suspended on a parachute, after the spacecraft had jettisoned the heat shield.

A dark spot, the shadow of the heat shield, enters the scene from lower left, moving toward the center. The bright heat shield itself is also apparent just before the shadow and hardware meet in the impact on the surface. The area of ground visible in the images is about six-tenths of a mile (1 kilometer) across. The frames shown here are cropped portions of full-frame images from the Mars Descent Imager.

The sequence includes 25 frames, repeated in five run-throughs for this presentation. The action is full speed in the first, fourth and fifth run-throughs. It is one-half and one-eighth speeds in the second and third run-throughs.

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    Curiosity Report (Oct. 4, 2012): Rover Gets Set to Scoop

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    Curiosity Rover Report (Sept. 28, 2012) Mars Streambed

  7. 212

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  8. 213

    Curiosity Rover Report (Sept. 20, 2012): Tribute to Jake

  9. 214

    Curiosity Rover Report (Sept. 13, 2012)

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    Curiosity Rover Report (Sept. 6, 2012)

  11. 216

    Dawn's Greatest Hits at Vesta

  12. 217

    What's Up Sept 2012 - Observe & "Wink" at the moon this month

  13. 218

    Curiosity Rover Report (Aug. 31, 2012)

  14. 219

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  15. 220

    Curiosity Rover Report (Aug. 24, 2012)

  16. 221

    Curiosity Drops in on Mars in High-Res

  17. 222

    Curiosity Rover: First Drive Celebration

  18. 223

    What It's Like to Land On Mars

  19. 224

    Digging Deep with NASA's Next Mars Lander

  20. 225

    Voyager: 35 Years Later

  21. Heat Shield, Meet Mars

  22. 227

    Curiosity Rover Report (Aug. 17, 2012)

  23. 228

    Where Were You When Curiosity Landed on Mars?

  24. 229

    President Obama Calls NASA's Mars Curiosity Rover Team

  25. 230

    Curiosity's First Low-Resolution Color Panorama

  26. 231

    Mars Curiosity Rover Report (Aug.10, 2012)

  27. 232

    Curiosity Bids Goodbye to Heat Shield

  28. 233

    CSI Mars

  29. 234

    Curiosity's Descent

  30. 235

    Curiosity Has Landed

  31. 236

    Phoning Home: Communicating from Mars

  32. 237

    What's Up for August 2012: Mars&Meteors

  33. 238

    The Science of Curiosity: Seeking Signs of Past Mars Habitability

  34. 239

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    Seven Minutes of Terror: The Challenges of Getting to Mars

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    WISE Finds Few Brown Dwarfs Close to Home

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    Mars in a Minute: How Hard Is It to Land Curiosity on Mars?

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    In Memoriam: Ray Bradbury 1920-2012

  42. 247

    Asteroid Vesta's Coat of Many Colors

  43. 248

    What's Up for June 2012

  44. 249

    Tsunami Makes Waves in More Than Just the Ocean

  45. 250

    Curiosity Rover Sampling System Scoop Test

  46. 251

    What is FINESSE?

  47. 252

    NASA Dawn's Virtual Flight Over Asteroid Vesta

  48. 253

    Black-Hole Hunter

  49. 254

    What's Up for May 2012

  50. 255

    Giant Asteroid Vesta's Shape and Gravity

  51. 256

    Mars in a Minute: How Do You Land on Mars?

  52. 257

    Robotic Arm Target Practice

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    Mars' Whirling Dust Devil

  54. 259

    What's Up April? Ice in the Solar System, Saturn Opposition

  55. 260

    Robot Rumble!

  56. 261

    Storm Chaser on Mars

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    The Challenges of Getting to Mars: The Cruise to Mars

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    Cassini Spies Wave Rattling Jet Stream on Jupiter

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    12-21-2012 Just Another Day (Updated version)

  60. 265

    12-21-2012 Just Another Day

  61. 266

    Cruising with Curiosity: Landing Practice

  62. 267

    What's Up March 2012

  63. 268

    GRAIL Mission Returns First Video of Moon's Far Side

  64. 269

    What's Up for February 2012

  65. 270

    The Martians: Launching Curiosity to Mars

  66. 271

    The Challenges of Getting to Mars: Launching a Mars Rover

  67. 272

    Opportunity on Mars: 8 years and counting!

  68. 273

    Inflatable Planetarium - Creating Stories in the Sky

  69. 274

    Montana 4th Grade Class Names NASA's Lunar Spacecraft Twins

  70. 275

    Curiosity Tweaks Course to Mars

  71. 276

    GRAIL-A Spacecraft Arrives at the Moon

  72. 277

    Explore Space 2011: A Year in Review

  73. 278

    What's Up January 2012: Dusk to Dawn Planets

  74. 279

    Sleigh Ride Over Mars

  75. 280

    2011 JPL Invention Challenge: It's a Kick

  76. 281

    Dark Hill on Asteroid Vesta

  77. 282

    What's Up for December?

  78. 283

    Soar Over Asteroid Vesta in 3-D

  79. 284

    Re-launching History

  80. 285

    Curiosity Heads to Mars

  81. 286

    The Challenges of Getting to Mars: Getting a Rover Ready for Launch

  82. 287

    Mars in a Minute: How Do You Get to Mars?

  83. 288

    The Challenges of Getting to Mars: Transporting a Mars Rover

  84. 289

    Mars in a Minute: Is Mars Really Red?

  85. 290

    Updated Radar Movie of Asteroid 2005 YU55

  86. 291

    First Movie of Asteroid 2005 YU55

  87. 292

    Asteroid 2005 YU55

  88. 293

    What's Up Nov: Mars Launch & Planet Magnetospheres

  89. 294

    Building Curiosity: Mars Rover Power

  90. 295

    Rover's Eye View of Three-Year Trek on Mars

  91. 296

    What's Up Oct? Moons and Meteors

  92. 297

    WISE Finds Fewer Asteroids

  93. 298

    NASA'S Journey Above Vesta

  94. 299

    Mars Technology Finds Earth's Hidden Water

  95. 300

    What's Up Sept: The moon and GRAIL launch

  96. 301

    NASA's Moon-Bound GRAIL Mission

  97. 302

    Curiosity Rover Trailer

  98. 303

    Possible Water Flows on Mars

  99. 304

    What's Up August? Windy planets, Juno Launch

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