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NASA Releases HiRISE Images of Curiosity's Descent

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the in-space-everything-is-awesome dept.

NASA 220

gcnaddict writes "NASA released content from the MRO HiRISE imager taken during the descent of the Curiosity Rover. Among the most notable artifacts are the images themselves as well as a diagram showing the exact location of the rover relative to NASA's target." Update: 08/07 00:15 GMT by U L : And now for a picture from the rover itself.

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220 comments

Fantastic! (5, Funny)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#40900323)

Nice shot. And kudos to the folks who painted the white square on the surface of Mars. If only the people who striped our freeways could have done such a good job.

Re:Fantastic! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40900467)

And now for a very special episode of "Ow! My Gelsacs!"

And kudos to the folks who painted the white square on the surface of Mars.

"You're welcome! They grow back, right?"
- A Junior Reporter.

Re:Fantastic! (-1, Flamebait)

skids (119237) | about 2 years ago | (#40901491)

That's not white paint, it's reams of 8.5x14 paper [democratic...ground.com] layed end-to end.

Too cool (4, Interesting)

Niris (1443675) | about 2 years ago | (#40900327)

Watched the stream last night of Mission Control, and coupled with this and the other images it has just been too cool.

Re:Too cool (2)

swanzilla (1458281) | about 2 years ago | (#40900365)

I don't think I'm alone in hoping this is cool enough to parlay funding another mission of this magnitude. Hats off to the engineers involved with this...very well done.

Re:Too cool (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40900423)

Re:Too cool (0)

roman_mir (125474) | about 2 years ago | (#40900597)

Don't you know, the government likes the robots.

Except that it likes them in the form of weapons, so that they can kill more people with those robots. [wordpress.com]

Mars?
Oil and other loot.

Re:Too cool (0)

inthealpine (1337881) | about 2 years ago | (#40900661)

NASA was created to combat the USSR threat. I'm not disagreeing about the US needing to get itself out of the world police business, but an anti-war pro NASA post kind of makes me laugh.

Re:Too cool (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about 2 years ago | (#40900709)

Who said I am pro-NASA?

Re:Too cool (2)

Antarius (542615) | about 2 years ago | (#40901105)

I would've thought that the 'Mir" in your username would show where your loyalties lie. ;-)

Re:Too cool (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40901137)

I would've thought that the 'Mir" in your username would show where your loyalties lie. ;-)

everyone else here takes it as an acronym for "massively idiotic republican".

Re:Too cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40901065)

but an anti-war pro NASA post kind of makes me laugh.

you got him wrong on that one. he's not anti-war or pro-NASA. he's just anti-spending-money. in fact he hates NASA just as much as he hates education, regulation, minimum wage, health care, and civil rights.

Re:Too cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40901305)

you got him wrong on that one. he's not anti-war or pro-NASA. he's just anti-spending-money. in fact he hates NASA just as much as he hates education, regulation, minimum wage, health care, and civil rights.

You had me at "hates education".

Re:Too cool (-1, Troll)

inthealpine (1337881) | about 2 years ago | (#40900609)

Why spend 2.5 billion on NASA when you can buy a few more Solyndra's.

Re:Too cool (5, Insightful)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | about 2 years ago | (#40901141)

Why spend 2.5 billion on NASA when you can buy a few more Solyndra's.

Why spend 2.5 billion on NASA when you can buy one B2 stealth bomber?

Re:Too cool (2)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 2 years ago | (#40900733)

Actually SLS and James Webb space telescope ate the budget. Ooops.

Re:Too cool (4, Insightful)

dgatwood (11270) | about 2 years ago | (#40900951)

Unfortunately, things are going the other way. NASA's unmanned space budget is being cut.

Here lie the last remaining artifacts from a once-great race—the humans—their great potential cut down in its prime by their tremendous lack of foresight. For centuries, the great thinkers had shouted the need to venture among the stars, but their leaders were too busy worrying about building bigger and better weapons to defend themselves from their neighbors. When the great war came and the environment was poisoned beyond the ability to sustain life, the politicians pointed fingers and blustered their "I told you sos", but in the end, it made little difference. Their fate was sealed long before.

Re:Too cool (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40900995)

Grow the fuck up, would you?

Re:Too cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40901019)

Such delicious irony.

I know you are just trolling, but I wouldn't even qualify this as the pot calling the kettle black. More like the obsidian calling the snowflake black.

Re:Too cool (3, Informative)

FussionMan (65370) | about 2 years ago | (#40901235)

Write your local politician to change this. Just a few letters make a huge difference.

Re:Too cool (1)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | about 2 years ago | (#40901485)

Don't lie to yourself, there is no money for them to squeeze out of space exploration so they are diverting it to industries that can provide the biggest kickbacks. Like oil and health care industries or war manufacturing. It has nothing to do with which party or administration, and if you think who you vote for matters in this issue, you haven't been paying attention.

Re:Too cool (5, Insightful)

poly_pusher (1004145) | about 2 years ago | (#40900751)

I don't care what it costs, I want a drill sent to Europa...

Remember, all American's can have an impact on that decision. I was all for a reduction in manned space travel expenditures and ending the money pit that was the shuttle program "Thanks Nixon!" However, I was under the impression that they surely would not impose cuts to NASA and JPL's hugely successful unmanned missions. The things Nasa has accomplished over the past 15 years with rover's, probes, and telescopes is astonishing.

Nope, you're not alone...

Re:Too cool (3, Funny)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | about 2 years ago | (#40900801)

A drill to Europa? You are just gonna find a lot of dead people and France's perfume deposit.

Re:Too cool (3, Insightful)

poly_pusher (1004145) | about 2 years ago | (#40900893)

+1 :)

Or Enceladus or a rover-y thing to Titan. Seriously though it seems like we've discovered all this amazing stuff about our solar system and right when we're on a solid path to explore these discoveries in depth, poof! there goes the funding...

Re:Too cool (2)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | about 2 years ago | (#40901439)

Absolutely. The countries that would be interested in science for the sake of science, don't have big enough budgets. The countries that do are interested in war (because that's what keeps filling the right pockets). We are out of luck.

Re:Too cool (1)

Brenda Lee Ayala (2702139) | about 2 years ago | (#40900767)

Anyone knows any updates on the "lisa path finder project of nasa? ;) how can they invest a trillion dollars and now be so quiet about it.. Hmmm makes it more interesting..landing on other planets is wonderfull but the possibility of finding multiverses is mind blowing,that is the mission of lisa pathfinder the biggest laser satelite of all. As explained by Dr Mitchio kaku. Lisa pathfinder was sent out last year but was not announced or was it? ;)

Freaking incredible. (5, Interesting)

Bitsy Boffin (110334) | about 2 years ago | (#40900331)

Just think about this a moment. NASA took a photo from a satellite, of a probe landing on another planet. And they got telemetry relayed about the landing from ANOTHER satellite.

And it's not just a bright pixel, you can clearly see what it is.

Stunning.

Re:Freaking incredible. (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#40900377)

Yes, the detail on the parachute is absolutely amazing. In fact, the whole thing is amazing.

(Looks up furtively, tightens tin foil hat, scrunches down.)

Re:Freaking incredible. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40900407)

HiRISE is impressive. I wonder why this picture has more detail than the one they took of Phoenix?

Re:Freaking incredible. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40901003)

Curiosity was (is) a much larger target than Phoenix. Plus, the image HiRISE took of Phoenix was at a very oblique angle. And they got luckier.

Re:Freaking incredible. (5, Informative)

MtViewGuy (197597) | about 2 years ago | (#40901001)

What is totally amazing about that image is not only do you clearly see the shading of the parachute itself, but you also see _in the same picture_ the protective heat shield cover falling away from the lander, too. In short, one of the most amazing images ever produced by NASA. (thumbs up)

Re:Freaking incredible. (5, Interesting)

gcnaddict (841664) | about 2 years ago | (#40900431)

You're not the first to think that, either. The same message was conveyed by the BadAstronomy blog [badastronomy.com] when the same such shot was released from Phoenix.

Think on this, and think on it carefully: you are seeing a manmade object falling gracefully and with intent to the surface of an alien world, as seen by another manmade object already circling that world, both of them acting robotically, and both of them hundreds of million of kilometers away.

Never, ever forget: we did this. This is what we can do.

Re:Freaking incredible. (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#40900449)

But there will always be pathetic yahoos who, out of some desire to make themselves feel important will deny our species' technical abilities.

Re:Freaking incredible. (5, Insightful)

SomeJoel (1061138) | about 2 years ago | (#40900483)

But there will always be pathetic yahoos who, out of some desire to make themselves feel important will deny our species' technical abilities.

Yes, and they will post about it on the Internet without ever sensing the irony.

Re:Freaking incredible. (4, Interesting)

Firehed (942385) | about 2 years ago | (#40900453)

I mean that's cool and all, but I think the more significant piece is that the landing was accurate to within 2km with a journey covering nine months and somewhere roughly around 200m km. Scale that down to something we can actually comprehend, and it's using autopilot for 100km and being accurate to within 1mm. Where talking to your co-pilot takes as much as 14 minutes, with another 14 minutes to hear their response.

We've got some damn fine people working on this.

Re:Freaking incredible. (-1, Troll)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 years ago | (#40900505)

What's with all the metric units? How many furlongs was it?

Re:Freaking incredible. (5, Funny)

MachDelta (704883) | about 2 years ago | (#40900525)

It turns out that space is in metric. Who knew?

Re:Freaking incredible. (5, Funny)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | about 2 years ago | (#40900819)

All of space, including most of planet earth. Well, except for some very uneducated areas ;)

Re:Freaking incredible. (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | about 2 years ago | (#40900941)

I always tought there were distances there at the US and UK. I mean, as mind blowing crazy that General Relativity is, I don't think it allows any non-metric region.

Re:Freaking incredible. (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 2 years ago | (#40901503)

Well, except for some very uneducated areas

Does that include the guys who put this thing up there?

Re:Freaking incredible. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40901131)

It turns out that space is in metric. Who knew?

But pseudometric spaces are so much more fun... No wormholes in a metric space ;^)

Re:Freaking incredible. (5, Informative)

Swampash (1131503) | about 2 years ago | (#40900567)

We've got some damn fine people working on this.
And a lot of them will be looking for work after the next round of NASA budget cuts - no matter who wins the next election.

NASA's budget as a fraction of federal spending is 0.48%. That's the lowest it's been since 1960. And it's getting smaller.

Dig on this:

Curiosity project budget: USD 2.5 billion

Cost of "War on Terror" so far: USD 1.36 trillion and counting (yes that's one thousand three hundred and sixty billion)

Re:Freaking incredible. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40900739)

The difference is this: providing for the national defense of the United States is the constitutional duty of the federal government, funding for science and space projects is not.

BOOM.

Re:Freaking incredible. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40900989)

Yah but National Defense is a subset of Military Spending. Why do we need bases in Germany?

Re:Freaking incredible. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40901035)

Yep. Point to a single military action in the past couple decades that was actually national defense.

Re:Freaking incredible. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40901049)

But, the money spent on this war-on-a-concept isn't actually promoting the national defense. It is not making us safer at all, and is actually putting us in greater danger (from an ever-more-powerful and ever-more-corrupt government).

Furthermore, spending money on space exploration is a longer-term furtherance of the goal of national defense, as the knowledge gained can help us develop better orbital defense weapons, and eventually get us off this rock so our species can survive when the Earth becomes unlivable (a guarantee).

Seeing the big picture requires a big mind.

Re:Freaking incredible. (4, Insightful)

jo_ham (604554) | about 2 years ago | (#40901397)

The difference is this: providing for the national defense of the United States is the constitutional duty of the federal government, funding for science and space projects is not.

BOOM.

Not sure how the Iraq war is really "providing for the national defense of the US" though.

Maybe stop the war 2 weeks early and we could fund another couple of these amazing missions to Mars and beyond.

Re:Freaking incredible. (0, Troll)

ScentCone (795499) | about 2 years ago | (#40900769)

no matter who wins the next election

I think it's safe to say that if Obama doesn't win the election, NASA's director may get some slightly different marching orders than he got from Obama. Director Bolden, on his meeting with Obama on NASA strategy, mission: " ...perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math and engineering."

Now if that's not a worthy foremost priority for NASA, I don't know what is. Pumping up the self esteem of the Religion Of Peace seems like it should be lower on the totem pole than a whole lot of other objectives (he said it was more important than expanding NASA's interaction with other country's space programs, and more important than inspiring kids to get into math and the sciences. Neato.

Budget issues aside, I'd like to see the agency's mission drift back towards its real target, in much the way that its scientists just bulls-eyed that landing zone on Mars.

Re:Freaking incredible. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40900877)

[(credible) citation needed]

Re:Freaking incredible. (-1)

ScentCone (795499) | about 2 years ago | (#40901405)

A few hundred comments here on /. addressed this topic when he (the agency's director) mentioned this in an interview. He was fresh from meeting with Obama, and that was what he took away and decided to talk about. Just google for it, man. I copied/pasted his words from the CNN web site.

Re:Freaking incredible. (5, Informative)

the gnat (153162) | about 2 years ago | (#40900891)

Director Bolden, on his meeting with Obama on NASA strategy, mission: " ...perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math and engineering."

This was one throwaway line by a federal bureaucrat in a single substance-free interview, where he was obviously trying to pander to his audience. (And the White House very quickly corrected him, as has been pointed out previously.) Do you really believe that anything NASA has done since then has been designed to further this supposed goal? Please, explain how the Curiosity mission has been corrupted to soothe the feelings of Muslims.

Re:Freaking incredible. (2)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 years ago | (#40901157)

I noticed that the White House called this "a great day for America", "a great day for this nation", etc. Repeat ad nauseam.

Would it really have killed them to say "a great day for humanity"? I don't think Americans would have minded.

Imagine if Neil Armstrong had said "that's one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for America".

Re:Freaking incredible. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40901505)

Maybe because the fact is, this is a triumphant achievement by the USA. It is the political, economic, and cultural mightiness of the United States of America that makes the success of this mission possible. No other nation comes close. That's why its a great day for America and not for anybody else.

Re:Freaking incredible. (2)

Phrogman (80473) | about 2 years ago | (#40901545)

Actually Bolden said during his address after the landing that 4 other countries had been involved in some way in the Curiousity landing but that he "wasn't going to say who they are", with no reason provided.

Re:Freaking incredible. (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40901249)

Well, Obama obviously has his reasons for not liking the space program. One look at this should tell you why. [globalactint.com] Or maybe a look at this. [wired.com] Notice anything they have in common? And something you don't see in either one of them?

Re:Freaking incredible. (2)

InterGuru (50986) | about 2 years ago | (#40900817)

Curiosity project budget: USD 2.5 billion

Cost of "War on Terror" so far: USD 1.36 trillion and counting (yes that's one thousand three hundred and sixty billion)

The $2.5B would hardly serve to bail out one sleazy banker so he can get his bonus.

Re:Freaking incredible. (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about 2 years ago | (#40901043)

Here in California they just floated $5 billion in bonds for that fuckhead Fossil Brown's full scale choo choo train set. The final bill could cover fifty Mars overs.

This is what you get, you republican and democrat party loyalists, when you put your particular breed of sociopath into office over and over.

Yeah, i know- its the OTHER side that's all stoooopid and evuuul and your team is all ponies and purity. Don't even start in with your red or blue shit. You're ALL guilty.

Re:Freaking incredible. (2)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 2 years ago | (#40901293)

I mean that's cool and all, but I think the more significant piece is that the landing was accurate to within 2km with a journey covering nine months and somewhere roughly around 200m km.

Well, they weren't "accurate within 2km" in the conventional sense - which would mean they came down within 2km of a designated point. Curiosity didn't have a designated point, it had an eclipse and NASA would have been "on target" and considered a success regardless of where it landed in the eclipse. (The far edge of the landing eclipse was almost 10km from the touchdown point.)
 

Scale that down to something we can actually comprehend, and it's using autopilot for 100km and being accurate to within 1mm.

Not quite. There were several course corrections calculated on the ground and sent to and executed by the probe - the last of which was on July 29th. On top of that, the last update of the guidance and flight control system parameters was on August 4th. So, it was only really on autopilot for a little over a week - and still the landing depended on last minute updates to the data used by the autopilot.
 
Don't get me wrong, it's still a fantastic accomplishment... but let's get our facts straight.

Re:Freaking incredible. (1)

chipschap (1444407) | about 2 years ago | (#40901303)

We've got some damn fine people working on this.

Yes, we do, and in the end they'll get precious little support. Think what these people could do with adequate funding and relief from stifling bureaucracy.

Re:Freaking incredible. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40901307)

as an aerospace engineer I'm offended every time someone makes an analogy like this. it's actually not like that at all. there are tiny corrections made along the way, so it's more like you driving on a long straight road with perfect suspension. every now and then you tap the wheel. only at the start or the end do you have to deal with the on/off ramp.

mars is a really big target. point in the general direction, fire the rocket, correct after the big burn and a few times during the trip. wow you're at mars. there are 2 impressive pieces to what they accomplished. 1) design/build a super complicated lander 2) survive reentry. launch and cruise are the most uninteresting and easy parts of the mission.

Re:Freaking incredible. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40901425)

Now to apply what has been learned here to the UCAV fleet.

Re:Freaking incredible. (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 years ago | (#40901449)

I mean that's cool and all, but I think the more significant piece is that the landing was accurate to within 2km with a journey covering nine months and somewhere roughly around 200m km.

To be fair; they've made a few course corrections along the way.

Totally Agree (2)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 2 years ago | (#40900459)

I was somewhat amazed the whole landing worked, so many complex parts that had to work together...

And then like you say - a casual snap shot from above of the thing on descent! Too amazing.

I'll put on several hats just to take them all off for all the NASA engineers on this one. It was a really spectacular success and it was fantastic how well they did at getting visual confirmation right off the bat before it went into radio silence.

Re:Freaking incredible. (4, Interesting)

Spy Handler (822350) | about 2 years ago | (#40900571)

Reminds me of the story where humans send a robotic probe to another star, and after decades of traveling it finally gets there and beams back the first images. The people at mission control yawn and are hardly excited because they've all seen the images already; during the time the probe was in transit, the aliens from that star already came to earth via warp drive. And the only person in the room who was excited about the whole thing was an alien in attendance, because the aliens have warp technology but they don't have good robotics.

Well if we ever get humans orbiting and living on Mars, these images will seem about as exciting as Columbus's sketches of Bahama island. Just a thought.

Re:Freaking incredible. (1)

poly_pusher (1004145) | about 2 years ago | (#40900953)

Decades of traveling and decades of beaming. Just saying... ;)

Re:Freaking incredible. (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about 2 years ago | (#40901063)

So what you're saying is old stuff gets old.

Re:Freaking incredible. (1)

Brenda Lee Ayala (2702139) | about 2 years ago | (#40900793)

Check out nasa's project "lisa pathfinder" was supposed to be launched last year but was apparently moved to 2014?

Re:Freaking incredible. (0)

gr8_phk (621180) | about 2 years ago | (#40901243)

And it's not just a bright pixel, you can clearly see what it is.

Sure, but the image taken from the surface used a 1 megapixel non-color camera. Talk about low budget...

Also, in spite of all the excitement about Mars, it doesn't really have much of an atmosphere, so being able to get clear pictures from orbit isn't that surprising. They first got images from Mars in the 1970s you know.

Image sources (4, Informative)

Ryanrule (1657199) | about 2 years ago | (#40900355)

Re:Image sources (1)

Ryanrule (1657199) | about 2 years ago | (#40900367)

This one is real nice

pl.nasa.gov/msl-raw-images/proj/msl/redops/ods/surface/sol/00000/opgs/edr/fcam/FRA_397506083EDR_F0010008AUT_04096M_.JPG

Re:Image sources (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 2 years ago | (#40900493)

Bad link. If I guess, and try it on photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov, I get a nice old 404. (and verbatim as you have it, also bad)

Re:Image sources (2)

Ryanrule (1657199) | about 2 years ago | (#40900717)

Re:Image sources (2)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | about 2 years ago | (#40900839)

That's actually the heat shield in free-fall.

I don't quite get (1)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | about 2 years ago | (#40900363)

why http://hirise.lpl.arizona.edu/ [arizona.edu] didn't release a sequence of pictures? It'd be so awesome! Perhaps the other ones are blurry ...

Re:I don't quite get (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40900437)

I'm waiting for pictures from the descent camera. Should be awesome.

Re:I don't quite get (4, Informative)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | about 2 years ago | (#40900633)

"The Curiosity Mars Descent Imager (MARDI) captured the rover's descent to the surface of the Red Planet. The instrument shot 4 fps video from heatshield separation to the ground." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcGMDXy-Y1I [youtube.com]

Re:I don't quite get (1)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#40900463)

From TFA:

"If HiRISE took the image one second before or one second after, we probably would be looking at an empty Martian landscape," said Sarah Milkovich, HiRISE investigation scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

This might be the only frame they got with Curiosity in view. HiRISE was moving pretty fast over the scene.

Photography has come a long way (5, Insightful)

lemur3 (997863) | about 2 years ago | (#40900397)

I think something missed in all of this is how powerful imagery is.

Imagine a world without photographs ?

This mission, and ones before it.. highlight how important this invention, photography, is.

We have photographs of this on its chute landing.. this is the second time we've done it.. and we got photographs back as soon as it landed.. This is great... and the excitement of the crew, and the public, upon seeing these images is a testament to how far photography has come in the past 150ish years.

Kudos to all of those who made this happen.. for the science it will do.. and further affirming the power of images in our world..

Re:Photography has come a long way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40900847)

It's not that I disagree, but photography is about the least impressive thing that happened here.

Re:Photography has come a long way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40901337)

photography is done for the non-scientists so people can understand what the scientists do. every deep space picture you've ever seen is false color. pictures of mars, jupiter, saturn, and even the sun are false color b/c they look cooler. if you were to look at famous nebulae, they'd be dark. they're analyzing the infrared spectrum and calling that part red, they're calling the ultraviolet part purple. real pictures are black and white.

I'm sure most of you already know this, (2)

gcnaddict (841664) | about 2 years ago | (#40900399)

I neglected to mention the obvious point in my submission that this was HiRISE's second such shot.

http://hirise.lpl.arizona.edu/phoenix-descent.php

The first shot of the sort was this one from the Phoenix lander.

Goosebumps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40900439)

This image - and everything it took to take it - gives me goosebumps.

A picture of a probe, taken from an orbiting satellite - all on a different planet, and all done without direct human control.

This could be my generation's earthrise photo - proof that mankind is stretching beyond Earth.

For God's sake (1)

Penurious Penguin (2687307) | about 2 years ago | (#40900475)

Don't let Richard Hoagland get a hold of this!

Brings back memories of the 1960s (1)

tralfaz2001 (652552) | about 2 years ago | (#40900533)

This photo is so astounding that it brings back memories of the 1960s moon landing days. I was totally enthralled by the awesome techno-wizardry it took set, not one, but two men on the moon, and bring them back to earth. The techno wizardry needed to pull this shot off seems the equal of the feats of those heady days. Well done NASA, well done.

Cheap Mission (5, Informative)

ThePeices (635180) | about 2 years ago | (#40900691)

What amazes me is how cheap the entire MSL mission is...

The entire budget was only 4 days in Iraq/Afghanistan, or approx USD$2.5billion.

NASA's entire budget is less than what the US Army spends on air-conditioning in Iraq/Afghanistan ( USD$20 billion ).

I. Kid. You. Not.

Re:Cheap Mission (4, Insightful)

ScentCone (795499) | about 2 years ago | (#40900875)

And which mission is the one trying to prevent another entire generation in that region from falling under the control of a bunch of medieval-minded religious thugs who drag school teachers out into the town square and shoot them in the head in front of their students for talking about current events and science? You know, things like landing an SUV on Mars with the help of female scientists who are allowed to drive themselves to work where they can talk to men, read and write, and make a living doing science.

You're right. We can only do one thing at a time. We should focus on more rovers, and tell the Taliban that they're welcome to roll that region back into the Dark Ages again, and do their level best to work their way into more influence in nuclear-armed Pakistan.

Or maybe it is possible to do two things, possibly even three things, at once? In the interests of both practicing fantastic science like this, and endeavoring to show the world that Western Civilization thinks its rude to burn down school houses for daring to talk about it. Nah, that's crazy talk, right?

If I had mod points, you would get one. (1)

xmark (177899) | about 2 years ago | (#40901111)

Thoughtful analysis untainted by political correctness is getting scarce these days. Which by definition means it's getting more valuable.

Not a troll (1)

gr8_phk (621180) | about 2 years ago | (#40901295)

I'd mod you up too if I had points. Troll is completely unwarranted.

Re:Cheap Mission (0, Troll)

AB3A (192265) | about 2 years ago | (#40901519)

Slashdot moderators Pay attention:

How is it trolling when Scentcone responds to a highly rated moronic comment regarding the Budget of the US?

You rated it trolling because you disagree with it? You moderated a moronic comment up because you agree with it? What do you think that does to the Slashdot readership?

I used to frequent this forum because it was funny, incisive, informative, interesting, and all of those good things. Now it's just an amalgamation of links I have already seen elsewhere with moderators who can't seem to understand what their role is for this forum. I find myself watching this web site less and less.

This is no longer news for nerds. This is news for politically perverted idiots who can not tolerate honest dissent.

Re:Cheap Mission (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40900901)

Here's a hint boy, people cost more than robots.

If this amazes you, you need go get off the computer, and go to back to school.

Re:Cheap Mission (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40901093)

I think the implication is that the government's spending priorities are a bit off, since the value of NASA's research and development is far greater than the value of our efforts in Iraq/Afghanistan, and it would make sense to scale back those military operations a bit and ramp up space-exploration just a tad.

Space exploration is the *only* way we will find *any* means of ensuring the long-term survival of our species. Without it, our goose is cooked.

Re:Cheap Mission (1)

FussionMan (65370) | about 2 years ago | (#40901233)

2.5 billon is really a very small amount for a country of over 300 million people with a GDP of over 15 trillion. These missions help increase human knowledge and lead to a higher standard of living for all humanity.

Re:Cheap Mission (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 2 years ago | (#40901289)

And if the US leaves that middle eastern shithole, you can bet with certainty that no kid from that place will ever set foot on another planet.

Re:Cheap Mission (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40901451)

Well that's technically not a problem -- just a nice to have really. There's plenty of other people elsewhere that are able to set foot on another planet when the time comes. You're letting your emotions get the best of you here.

money... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40900915)

Wow 2 billion dollars to go look at some rocks, that we have already looked at... Impressive.

If you take 2,000,000,000 dollars, buying a 10 dollar meal, you could have bought 200,000,000 people meals. But instead of feeding the poor, we'd rather look at some distant rocks.

What a loving nation we are...

Re:money... (4, Insightful)

Artifakt (700173) | about 2 years ago | (#40901199)

Competition s a basic tendency of humans. 2 billion dollars spent on getting an advanced robot to do something extremely difficult is so much better than competing to build more nuclear weapons, stealth drones, and cruise missiles, that disparaging it is counter your and my personal survival. The people who are hyper-paranoid will not stop feeling like all life is a savage competition because you criticise any non-violent competition between peoples groups or nations as not living up to your definition of 'loving'. Instead they will put all their competitive drive into making the whole planet into a smouldering pile of rubble in a misguided and delusional effort to wipe out everyone who even might be a potential enemy. If you want them to stop that, you learn to respect when competition gets focused into technological achievement, excellence in sports, creating art or pure science or even just persuing a harmless hobby, and not just taking care of people.
            Sure, you can tell them that a civilised country proves it's the freeest and best by building a better and better safety net for its citizens, feeding its poor, finding meaningful work for everyone, educating all citizens, and other such dreams if you want, and some of the hyper-competitive paranoids will listen a little and get on the bandwagon and grow out of being so afraid, but if you keep slamming everything else but basic care of the poor, all you will do is drive those people back into their caves, where they currentlly keep about 3,000 Megatons of very bad solutions to the problem of the poor and all those other things that just might be good in your eyes.
          Curiosity is about a lot more than just looking at some rocks, but even if you reduced it to that, how is it in any way morally inferior to spending about the same amount figuring out how to put Cobalt-60 jackets on thermonuclear weapons, just so you can make not only human life extinct but clear the planet of bacterial life as well? Spending 2 billion on preserving the 'vitally important' model railroading hobby is better than building more death machines. An Olympics is better than more instruments of totalitarian population control. Finding a cure for male pattern baldness is better than inventing weaponized Ebola. While we are at it, any of those things are better than rewarding bankers for screwing up everyone else's economy,. If you can waste your energy on sarcasm and insults for a program like Curiosity, just what are you willing to say to the Pentagon procurement offices, the TARP system, or Wall street in general? If you are not screaming at them, at the top of your lungs ,every second of every waking day, your responses are not sanely proportionate.

descent video (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40901185)

There's also a video of the descent:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcGMDXy-Y1I

Events
* 0:15: heat shield drops
* 0:18: detachment from parachute, with corresponding acceleration towards the surface
* 0:19: rockets kick in to slow things down
* 0:44: dust is kicked up from the jets
* 0:48: wheels deployed
* 0:53: touchdown

@MarsCuriosity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40901577)

@MarsCuriosity. ..FYI, I aim to send bigger, color pictures from Mars later this week once I've got my head up & Mastcam active #MSL...

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