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Wanna See Something Cool? Mars Landing

The heatshield of NASA's Curiosity Mars lander. (NASA)
With all this smoke in the Bitterroot Valley, I was thinking about maybe moving to a different place for a while – maybe a different planet?

NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover is safely on the red planet and has been checking out its systems.

As Curiosity went through a complicated landing routine to the Martian surface August 6th, a camera on board captured the action. The video was cool but was only a low-res, four-frames-per-second clip.

Bard Canning, a filmmaker wanted more. So, putting in hours of work, he smoothed out the video, increased the resolution and size of the video and added separation sounds and wind noise. The result is on Youtube.

Here’s what you’ll see. Watch as the rover lets loose its heat shield at the beginning of the clip. It will disappear far below. At the same time, listen as Bard adds in the parachute opening and then you’ll hear some wind as the surface gets closer and closer. Near the end, the rocket “retro” engines fire off, slowing the drop to a gentle landing and kicking up some dust.

This is in real time. It’s also pretty big, so use a good computer. And make sure you have sound. It’s cool.

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