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.