The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has sent back a picture of the landed rover on Mars along with all the assorted debris (and no, we’re not cleaning that up).
The Curiosity rover is in the centre of the image, while 4,900 feet away, lies the heat shield, which protected the rover from 3,800-degree-Fahrenheit temperatures encountered during its fiery descent. On the lower left, about 2,020 feet away, are the parachute and back shell. To the upper-left you might just be able to see the discoloration of the surface resulting from the rocket-powered Sky Crane impacting the surface.
“This latest image is another demonstration of the invaluable assistance the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter team and its sister team with the Mars Odyssey orbiter have provided the Curiosity rover during our early days on the Red Planet. The image not only satisfies our curiosity, it can provide important information on how these vital components performed during entry, descent and landing, and exactly locate the rover’s touchdown site within Gale Crater,” Mike Watkins, at JPL, told us.