NASA spent a lot of time and money (though not as much as you’d expect) sending the Curiosity Rover to Mars so understandably they want to keep an eye on it from all angles. One such angle is from space, thanks to the HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been checking in on the parachute.
A new animated gif, shows the changing state of the parachute over the months between August and January, with it quite clear that it’s blowing around in the wind throughout that time. The bright shape in the top right of the image is Curiosity’s back shell which provided structural support during the descent stage of the Mars approach, as well as protecting the rover itself.
According to Wired’s breakdown, the parachute used in the Curiosity landing was the largest used on another planet, with a 15 metre diameter when fully deployed.
KitGuru Says: The Curiosity Rover is one of man’s greatest achievements in recent years but sadly it gets far too little a note in the world’s press.