Another HiRISE Stunner: The Full Descent Image

I hope you’re not tired of seeing HiRISE images of Phoenix, but this one shows the grandeur of Mars compared to the tininess of our spacecraft. Remember the close-up image of Phoenix descending to Mars’ surface with its parachute? Well, the HiRISE folks were holding back on us. Above is the jaw-dropping full image, with the inset being the close-up of Phoenix! What an amazing vista, and our little Phoenix is just a tiny pixel or two in the entire image. That the imaging team found Phoenix in this photo is incredible. And no, Phoenix is not heading into the crater, as it appears. The lander is actually about 20 kilometers (about 12 miles) in front of the crater. This is just so amazing.

Tell me when you’ve had enough of these images, but I’m saying, “Keep ’em coming!”

I love HiRISE even more.

BTW, the crater is informally called “Heimdall,” and is about 10 km (6 miles) wide.

Original Source: JPL Phoenix News

27 Replies to “Another HiRISE Stunner: The Full Descent Image”

  1. I need to just stay on the floor when looking at these, I keep falling out of my chair when a new one shows up. This crater photo just pushed me out of my chair and kicked me in the *** over and over again!

  2. An insignificant spec that holds dreams for grandeur of the entire Universe. Truly incredible feat. 🙂

  3. It doesn’t seem to be mentioned much, especially in the media, but if the science goes good.. and with a bit of luck, this lander could end up going down in history.. known by all…. Best of luck, Phoenix.

  4. I’m not sure they were holding out on us when they released the first parachute image.

    In the Tuesday briefing MRO’s Albert McEwen was explaing that they only looked at the long strip of the detailed push-broom HiRISE image to find Phoenix. It was later that they looked at the context image and realized the fantastic backdrop.

    They could well have realized they had a second awesome image too late to provide it for the Monday briefing.

  5. 01101001–
    Saying they were “holding back on us” is just a figure of speech. I only meant this picture is awesome! I have to agree with Tom above about looking at these images while on the floor so I don’t fall down!

  6. With the advances in robotics, I find myself agreeing with many experts and think that perhaps expending money on a manned exploration would serve better if spent on robotic probes what would yield many benefits without endangerment of human life. Looking at these results simply proves the point! amazing stuff

  7. Does anyone happen to know the original size of this image? The falling spacecraft seems next-to impossible to see. That’s incredible.


  8. Amazing stuff…to photograph another spacecraft on another planet.
    ….and from a photographers viewpoint…..its a great artistic shot as well!

  9. Ok we ABSOLUTELY NEED a HiRISE Spacecraft orbiting EVERY planet. That thing is friggin Awesome.

  10. Not in the least tired, Nancy. Add this to Kaguya-Selene’s imagery and it makes even us Raving Loonies excited.

    Added together, it makes me personally salivate in anticipation of the same HiRise sytem on LRO, late this year and early next.

    Kaguya’s 5m/pixel is roughly equal to the passing human eye. The remainder of their experiments hold more promise for data sets to keep Selenologist busy for more than a decade, as they still are tweaking data from the Lunar Prospector.

    LRO – like MRO – has half-meter/pixel rez, more than enough to capture the Apollo descent stages.

    It is a jaw-dropping beginning to this already operational partitioned mission.

    Still no peep from the MGS? Has anyone spotted the Pancake, er, ah, Mars Polar Crasher, er, ah. “lander?” I had heard that they had a candidate, but after this release, I have a hard time believing the MPL wreckage(?) is so hard to spot…

    No focus on failure, mind you. This is stunning, especially since the MRO was not yet launched when that unfortunate loss of the MPL occurred. Had it been, I suppose we might have actually seen the cause of the failure.

    Alas, non est ad astra mollis e terris via

  11. Congrats to those on the MRO team, especially the targeting team. I remember pics of Mars orbiters by other Mars orbiters not too long ago. Also HiRise imagery of Spirit, Opportunity and Sojourner on the surface. I think this image beats them all in terms of complexity ! Mind Blowing.

  12. Silver Thread, HIRISE is a telescopic camera, not a spacecraft. It’s onboard MRO (Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter), which is a spacecraft.

    Some day we’ll probably have instruments just as good, if not better, around every major planetary body in the system, at least for a while, but they’ll have to be pretty different from eachother, sensitive to different wavelengths, etc. HIRISE around Venus, for instance, would turn up little more than featurless photos of cloud tops.

    That’s one of the reasons why we haven’t been seing many pretty pics from Venus Express, unlike the beauties that have been generated by its colder twin, Mars Express.

  13. Great job, Nancy. Keep up the good work; and don’t let the critics change you. I love your style. Holding back was putting it mildly. The aftershock of seeing the lander first and the whole image later got some real deserved attention. Maybe more people will start to realize what some of us already appreciate. Keep up the great work of picking out stuff for us to see.

  14. Sincerely – every picture that coveys perspective to us is worth viewing. Pics like this one make you gasp when you realize how tiny our greatest achievements are compared to the goals dreamt tomorrow.

  15. This photo magnificently illustrates what space enthusiasts have been imagining in their mind’s eye for years. Thanks HiRise.

  16. knock out shot. Couldn’t have been more beautiful really. I agree, this simply implies what more amazing things we will see of the solar system in the future too. It’s an interesting time to be alive, on the leading edge of a coming technological singularity.

Comments are closed.