Awesome! Wow! This is one of those pictures that will never cease to amaze. Who can not feel like a kid with wonderment after seeing this? What a weekend this has been for space buffs!
Still basking in the elation of a successful Mars landing, engineers with the Phoenix program unveiled a dramatic photo today showing the spacecraft descending to the martian surface under its parachute Sunday. The black-and-white photo, shot by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft as it sailed overhead, shows the inflated parachute and the backshell supporting Phoenix dangling below, somewhere between 10,000 and 1,000 feet above the surface.
The picture is awesome,” said Principal Investigator Peter Smith during a morning news conference. “We’re now awaiting an image from (Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter) of our spacecraft on the surface so we know exactly where it is. We hope to see also the heat shield and the back shell and the parachute. All of those things will be visible, we just haven’t seen them quite yet. But we will, and once we do, because we carpeted this whole area with images, we’ll have a before and after picture showing what the site looked like before the lander was there and then after the lander came down. So that should be really spectacular.”