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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Incredible videos from Curiosity's descent

All eyes are on Mars this week as Curiosity made it's landing in one of the most complex maneuvers ever attempted on the red planet.

As curiosity descended it took video of its landing via the Mars Descent Imager, or MARDI. The video is grainy as the rover is currently sending thumbnail images (the high-res images will come in eventually, albeit slowly since they are so large and so many) to give a sample of what happened on it's way to the surface.

The concave black strips around the border are the result of the fish-eye lens that the camera was using to record the video. Fish-eye lenses allow a much larger field of view to be recorded. The view was inverted to flatten the background and present the video in a format more recognizable to viewers.

Along with the "good bye to the heat shield" video, MARDI also captured the landing. It's abbreviated, but NASA assures us a better video is on its way from the rover as soon as it can be sent.

Now that the high-gain antenna has been aligned with earth, we should be getting a lot more amazing pictures and videos in the upcoming days. I can't wait!

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