A spectacular image of the Curiosity rover descending to the surface of Mars on its parachute has been obtained by an overflying satellite.
The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter played a key role in Monday’s (GMT) historic landing by recording telemetry from the robot as it approached the ground. But Nasa also tasked it with trying to get a picture of the new arrival. The rover – also known as the Mars Science Laboratory, MSL – is seen when still inside its protective shell.
Moments after this image was acquired, the vehicle would have dropped out of the capsule to ride its rocket-powered crane to the base of Gale Crater, its landing location. This remarkable piece of photography repeats MRO’s effort in 2008 when it also managed to sight the incoming Phoenix lander. Via Photo shows Mars rover descent.