During its descent, the Mars Curiosity Rover’s HiRISE camera captured the spacecraft’s parachute and back shell on the Martian surface below.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona
Curiosity's high-tech parachute and connecting back shield, seen in the center of the image, helped slow the rover down to 200 MPH then detached from the spacecraft; rockets and a sky crane took over for the final touch down. Before landing, the HiRISE camera on the rover snapped this photo of the crashed back shell and parachute. When the back shell hit the surface, it kicked up the top layer of dust, revealing the darker material seen in the picture. The $40 million HiRISE camera will continue to take high resolution images of the Martian surface with unprecedented detail throughout Curiosity’s mission.