Sometimes, things are just too cool not to mention. Like, say, the orbiting HiRISE camera seeing the Curiosity rover’s parachute flapping in the Martian wind!
Like I said: too cool. The animation was made from seven images taken over the course of several months; the changes in between each frame are due to changing light conditions, angle of the camera to the ground, and so on. You can see the back shell that protected the parachute to the upper right; the full length of the parchute to back shell is about 50 meters.
There may be some science to glean from this: the direction and strength of the wind, information on how durable the parachute is, how it can kick off dust coating it, things like that. These could be useful in planning future missions.
But c’mon! It’s a series of pictures showing the gentle motion of a human-made object that helped another human-made object land on another world.
We humans do amazing things when we try. We should try more often.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona
TODAY IN SLATE
The Ebola Story
How our minds build narratives out of disaster.
The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola
PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer
The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics
A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers
Welcome to 13th Grade!
Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.
The Actual World
“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.