New HD Video Lets You Plummet to Mars With Curiosity | Wired Science | Wired.com

Watching this amazing high-definition video of Curiosity’s hair-raising landing on Mars will make you clutch at your armrest. Compiled from the probe’s MARDI descent camera, it is the best landing video yet and gives you a chance to experience what it’s like to ride along with the rover down to the Martian surface.

The video starts with Curiosity’s heat shield being jettisoned from its landing stage body — comprised of the rover tucked up beneath a UFO-like platform. The rover hovers for a while under its parachute, wobbling back and forth as it takes in the spectacular view of craters and the lower reaches of Mount Sharp, its eventual target. Vertigo kicks in as the rover dives lower and the engines kick in for Curiosity’s powered descent sequence.

explore-blog:

The stuff of history: NASA’s definitive two-and-half-minute edit of Curiosity’s landing. Here’s what it took and how it happened.

It’s been a heck of a day, and a heck of a mission. Relive all of my posts from this mission, old and new, here. This video captures the end result of allowing human curiosity to push its boundaries, and then break through them.

You need a reminder of why we need to fund projects that go boldly into the future? Just watch this.

(via jtotheizzoe)