Curiosity rover’s parachute flapping in the wind on Mars

NASA has released seven images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter showing Curiosity’s parachute shifting its shape in response to the wind on Mars.

NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has once again revealed Mars as a real and dynamic world, in this case a world with wind. It captured a sequence of photos – shown in sequence below – of the parachute jettison by Curiosity, the newest rover on Mars. Curiosity used the chute during its dramatic landing on August 5-6, 2012. Now NASA has released seven images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter – taken between August 12, 2012 and January 13, 2013 – showing Curiosity’s parachute shifting its shape at least twice in response to wind, as the chute lay on the Martian soil.

Used parachute flaps in wind on Mars

This sequence of seven images from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows wind-caused changes in the parachute of NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft as the chute lay on the Martian ground during months after its use in safe landing of the Curiosity rover. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

Space scientists used the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to acquire these images. They’ve used HiRISE to let us see many types of changes on Mars, which has been fascinating. Read more about this sequences of images from NASA.

This is still my favorite image from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. It’s the Curiosity rover descending to Mars by parachute on August 5-6, 2012. Image via NASA

HiRISE’s first image of Curiosity’s parachute, above, caught the spacecraft suspended from the chute during descent through the Martian atmosphere on August 5-6, 2012. Watch a good video about Curiosity’s dramatic landing here.

Curiosity's parachute on Mars, as seen by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Image via NASA.

Curiosity’s parachute on Mars, as seen by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Image via NASA.

Bottom line: The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has captured a series of images from its perch in orbit around Mars, showing the jettisoned parachute of the new Curiosity rover on Mars, flapping in the wind.

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