Mars rover snapped pic of rocket stage crash: Nasa

Published Aug 10, 2012 07:06pm

This mosaic image, released by NASA August 10, 2012, shows part of the left side of NASA's Curiosity rover on Mars and two blast marks from the descent stage's rocket engines. The images that were used to make the mosaic were obtained by the rover's Navigation cameras on August 7. The rim of Gale Crater is the lighter colored band across the horizon. The back of the rover is to the left. The blast marks can be seen in the middle of the image. Several small bits of rock and soil, which were made airborne by the rocket engines, are visible on the rover's top deck. -Reuters Photo

PASADENA: The mysterious Mars photo has been solved. A Nasa engineer said Friday he's pretty sure a Curiosity rover camera caught the rocket stage crashing in the distance after it landed in Gale Crater Sunday night.    

A grainy, black-and-white picture taken about 40 seconds after landing shows a plume of dust in the distance. It's not visible in a picture taken nearly an hour later.

The Internet was abuzz over the photo for days. Curiosity touched down on Mars using a new landing technique. During the last few seconds, a rocket stage hovered and slowly lowered the six-wheel rover to the ground.

The rocket stage then flew away and crashed. Engineers say a preliminary reconstruction of the landing reveals everything went according to plan.

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