UA-run HiRISE camera snaps parachuting rover of Mars rover as it lands
Source: Arizona Daily Star
Date/Time: August 7, 2012
Author: TOM BEAL
HiRISE has done it again.
The UA Lunar and Planetary Lab team that operates the high-resolution camera aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured a clear, stunning image of the Mars rover Curiosity descending by parachute toward the surface of Mars on Sunday night.
The single image had been planned for months, and after Curiosity, formally known as the Mars Science Laboratory, landed at 10:31 p.m. Sunday, the Tucson-based team waited for it.
About 1:30 a.m. Monday it received it. It clearly showed the Curiosity capsule suspended from its giant parachute, plunging toward the Martian surface.
It was the second image of a Martian landing caught by the HiRISE team, led by Alfred McEwen. HiRISE had also captured the descent of the Phoenix Mars Lander in May 2008.
The photo was planned months in advance, said McEwen of the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Lab.
The orbiter and the HiRISE camera had to be carefully positioned at the right place at the right time. The time delay in transmissions left no room for last-minute changes.