The HiRISE team has outdone themselves this time. Using their incredible instrument, the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment, they have captured an absolutely amazing. image of the Curiosity rover, descending on a parachute through Mars’ atmosphere.
“Nailed it!” Tweeted Christian Schaller of the HiRISE team. “My goodness, @MarsCuriosity you look pretty.”
Schaller told Universe Today that the MSL Naviation team, the MRO Navigation team and the MRO FET (flight engineering team) “seriously rock. Seriously.”
The planning by those teams made this image possible.
Schaller is the software developer responsible for the primary planning tools the MRO and HiRISE targeting specialists and science team members use to plan their images.
“The Mars background looks a little blurry or smeared because we set up the timing to capture Curiosity, not the Martian surface,” Schaller said via email after the image was released at the press conference from JPL on Monday morning.
The image was set up so that as MSL was descending, MRO “slewed” the HiRISE field of view across the expected descent path. But obviously, MRO didn’t have to slew too much. “We were almost directly overhead, and had a very, very small angle to take the image,” said HiRISE team member Sarah Malkovich at the press conference. “MRO was essentially overhead.”