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File:Phoenix Lander seen from MRO during EDL2.jpg

Phoenix_Lander_seen_from_MRO_during_EDL2.jpg(260 × 260 pixels, file size: 37 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg)


Description English: NASA's Mars Phoenix Lander can be seen parachuting down to Mars, in this image captured by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. This is the first time that a spacecraft has imaged the final descent of another spacecraft onto a planetary body.

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter pointed its HiRISE obliquely toward Phoenix shortly after it opened its parachute while descending through the Martian atmosphere. The image reveals an apparent 10-meter-wide (30-foot-wide) parachute fully inflated. The bright pixels below the parachute show a dangling Phoenix. The image faintly detects the chords attaching the backshell and parachute. The surroundings look dark, but correspond to the fully illuminated Martian surface, which is much darker than the parachute and backshell.

Phoenix deployed its parachute at an altitude of about 12.6 kilometers (7.8 miles) and a velocity of 1.7 times the speed of sound. Given the position and pointing angle of MRO, Phoenix is at about 13 km above the surface, just a few seconds after the parachute opened. This image shows some details of the parachute, including the gap between upper and lower sections. At the time of this observation, MRO had an orbital altitude of 310 km, traveling at a ground velocity of 3.4 kilometers/second, and a distance of 760 km to the Phoenix lander.

The HiRISE acquired this image on May 25, 2008, at 4:36 p.m. Pacific Time (7:36 p.m. Eastern Time). It is a highly oblique view of the Martian surface, 26 degrees above the horizon, or 64 degrees from the normal straight-down imaging of Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The image has a scale of 0.76 meters per pixel.

The NASA image has been altered by cropping, increasing the linear pixel density by a factor of two, and conversion from TIFF to JPG format.
Date Image taken: 25 May 2008. Image published: 27 May 2008
Author NASA/Jet Propulsion Lab-Caltech/University of Arizona


Public domain This file is in the public domain because it was solely created by NASA. NASA copyright policy states that "NASA material is not protected by copyright unless noted". (See Template:PD-USGov, NASA copyright policy page or JPL Image Use Policy.)
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