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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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  1. 212

    Curiosity Rover Report (Oct. 19, 2012) Mars Soil Sample Delivered

  2. 213

    Curiosity Rover Report (Oct. 12, 2012) Here's the Scoop!

  3. 214

    What's Up for October 2012

  4. 215

    Curiosity's First Scoopful of Mars

  5. 216

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

  6. 217

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

  7. 218

    First Rock Contact by Curiosity's Arm

  8. 219

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

  9. 220

    Curiosity Rover Report (Sept. 13, 2012)

  10. 221

    Curiosity Rover Report (Sept. 6, 2012)

  11. 222

    Dawn's Greatest Hits at Vesta

  12. 223

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

  13. 224

    Curiosity Rover Report (Aug. 31, 2012)

  14. 225

    Dawn's Farewell Portrait of Giant Asteroid Vesta

  15. 226

    Curiosity Rover Report (Aug. 24, 2012)

  16. 227

    Curiosity Drops in on Mars in High-Res

  17. 228

    Curiosity Rover: First Drive Celebration

  18. 229

    What It's Like to Land On Mars

  19. 230

    Digging Deep with NASA's Next Mars Lander

  20. 231

    Voyager: 35 Years Later

  21. Heat Shield, Meet Mars

  22. 233

    Curiosity Rover Report (Aug. 17, 2012)

  23. 234

    Where Were You When Curiosity Landed on Mars?

  24. 235

    President Obama Calls NASA's Mars Curiosity Rover Team

  25. 236

    Curiosity's First Low-Resolution Color Panorama

  26. 237

    Mars Curiosity Rover Report (Aug.10, 2012)

  27. 238

    Curiosity Bids Goodbye to Heat Shield

  28. 239

    CSI Mars

  29. 240

    Curiosity's Descent

  30. 241

    Curiosity Has Landed

  31. 242

    Phoning Home: Communicating from Mars

  32. 243

    What's Up for August 2012: Mars&Meteors

  33. 244

    The Science of Curiosity: Seeking Signs of Past Mars Habitability

  34. 245

    NASA Unveils 'Mars Rover Landing' Game for Xbox Kinect

  35. 246

    Martian Dune Buggy

  36. 247

    What's Up July 2012 - Mars&Saturn&Milky Way

  37. 248

    Seven Minutes of Terror: The Challenges of Getting to Mars

  38. 249

    WISE Finds Few Brown Dwarfs Close to Home

  39. 250

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

  40. 251

    Inspired by Ray Bradbury

  41. 252

    In Memoriam: Ray Bradbury 1920-2012

  42. 253

    Asteroid Vesta's Coat of Many Colors

  43. 254

    What's Up for June 2012

  44. 255

    Tsunami Makes Waves in More Than Just the Ocean

  45. 256

    Curiosity Rover Sampling System Scoop Test

  46. 257

    What is FINESSE?

  47. 258

    NASA Dawn's Virtual Flight Over Asteroid Vesta

  48. 259

    Black-Hole Hunter

  49. 260

    What's Up for May 2012

  50. 261

    Giant Asteroid Vesta's Shape and Gravity

  51. 262

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

  52. 263

    Robotic Arm Target Practice

  53. 264

    Mars' Whirling Dust Devil

  54. 265

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

  55. 266

    Robot Rumble!

  56. 267

    Storm Chaser on Mars

  57. 268

    The Challenges of Getting to Mars: The Cruise to Mars

  58. 269

    Cassini Spies Wave Rattling Jet Stream on Jupiter

  59. 270

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

  60. 271

    12-21-2012 Just Another Day

  61. 272

    Cruising with Curiosity: Landing Practice

  62. 273

    What's Up March 2012

  63. 274

    GRAIL Mission Returns First Video of Moon's Far Side

  64. 275

    What's Up for February 2012

  65. 276

    The Martians: Launching Curiosity to Mars

  66. 277

    The Challenges of Getting to Mars: Launching a Mars Rover

  67. 278

    Opportunity on Mars: 8 years and counting!

  68. 279

    Inflatable Planetarium - Creating Stories in the Sky

  69. 280

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

  70. 281

    Curiosity Tweaks Course to Mars

  71. 282

    GRAIL-A Spacecraft Arrives at the Moon

  72. 283

    Explore Space 2011: A Year in Review

  73. 284

    What's Up January 2012: Dusk to Dawn Planets

  74. 285

    Sleigh Ride Over Mars

  75. 286

    2011 JPL Invention Challenge: It's a Kick

  76. 287

    Dark Hill on Asteroid Vesta

  77. 288

    What's Up for December?

  78. 289

    Soar Over Asteroid Vesta in 3-D

  79. 290

    Re-launching History

  80. 291

    Curiosity Heads to Mars

  81. 292

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

  82. 293

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

  83. 294

    The Challenges of Getting to Mars: Transporting a Mars Rover

  84. 295

    Mars in a Minute: Is Mars Really Red?

  85. 296

    Updated Radar Movie of Asteroid 2005 YU55

  86. 297

    First Movie of Asteroid 2005 YU55

  87. 298

    Asteroid 2005 YU55

  88. 299

    What's Up Nov: Mars Launch & Planet Magnetospheres

  89. 300

    Building Curiosity: Mars Rover Power

  90. 301

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

  91. 302

    What's Up Oct? Moons and Meteors

  92. 303

    WISE Finds Fewer Asteroids

  93. 304

    NASA'S Journey Above Vesta

  94. 305

    Mars Technology Finds Earth's Hidden Water

  95. 306

    What's Up Sept: The moon and GRAIL launch

  96. 307

    NASA's Moon-Bound GRAIL Mission

  97. 308

    Curiosity Rover Trailer

  98. 309

    Possible Water Flows on Mars

  99. 310

    What's Up August? Windy planets, Juno Launch

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