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Curiosity parachuting toward Mars' surface
Update Aug. 8: The Mars Science Laboratory, aka Curiosity, successfully landed on Mars Monday morning - near the foot of Mount Sharpe in the Gale Crater. The new Mars Rover which is about the size of a car and weighs 900kg or 1984lbs, is preparing to start a two-year mission to investigate for signs of life on the Red Planet. Its dimensions are 2.9 m (9.5 ft) long by 2.7 m (8.9 ft) wide by 2.2 m (7.2 ft) in height. It's about double the size of its predecessors, Opportunity and Spirit.
The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured Curiosity's descent to the planet. The image to the right is a blow-up of the parachute.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona
This is the first color image from Curiosity as the new Mars Rover unpacks itself from its landing gear. The image shows the north wall and rim of Gale Crater. The image is somewhat blurry due to dust picked up on the lens dust cover during its landing. The dust cover will be opened in about a week.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems