NASA Releases First HD Video of the Curiosity Rover’s Descent to Mars
On August 6, NASA successfully landed the Curiosity Rover. It was one of the most ambitious things they've ever done—and it had a less than 50% chance of working. (In case you're interested, here's a nice run-down of how they did it.)
Yesterday, the first HD video was released of the descent. It's wild. In the video above, you first see the heat shield detaching from the “sky crane,” which held the rover. Then you see the red planet start to come into closer view, as smoke billows out as the crane's steerable rockets, slowing the spacecraft down. When the Curiosity lands, you see a great close-up shot of what the planet looks like.
And if it looks at first like it's descending way too fast, you're not wrong. The original non-HD version was more like a slideshow of pictures, and this one has been sped up to around double speed for smoothness.