National Aeronautics and Space Administration Logo
Follow this link to skip to the main content NASA Banner
Solar System Exploration
Zeroing in on Rover's Landing Site
Zeroing in on Rover's Landing Site (click to enlarge)

Zeroing in on Rover's Landing Site

The red "X" marks the spot where NASA's Curiosity rover landed on Mars. Early estimates made immediately after the rover landed (green diamond) indicated the rover touched down about one-and-a-half miles (2.4 kilometers) from the point it was targeting, to the left and out of sight on this graphic. This is well within the targeted landing region, called the landing ellipse, marked by the light blue line. Later after landing, images from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (not shown here) were able to pinpoint the rover's precise location, as shown by the red "X."

Before landing, the mission team had also made predictions about where six entry ballast masses released from the descending spacecraft would land, as indicated by the dark blue landing ellipse and six dots. These weights, which are made of a heavy metal called tungsten, were released to straighten the descending spacecraft out from the tilted position it needed to ride through the atmosphere.

The overlaid black-and-white picture shows the actual landing positions of the ballasts, as indicated by the dark scour marks they left on the surface. Arrows indicate the locations. That picture was taken by the Context Camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

The background color image is from MRO.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/MSSS

Awards and Recognition   Solar System Exploration Roadmap   Contact Us   Site Map   Print This Page
NASA Official: Kristen Erickson
Advisory: Dr. James Green, Director of Planetary Science
Outreach Manager: Alice Wessen
Curator/Editor: Phil Davis
Science Writers: Courtney O'Connor and Bill Dunford
Producer: Greg Baerg
Webmaster: David Martin
> NASA Science Mission Directorate
> Budgets, Strategic Plans and Accountability Reports
> Equal Employment Opportunity Data
   Posted Pursuant to the No Fear Act
> Information-Dissemination Policies and Inventories
> Freedom of Information Act
> Privacy Policy & Important Notices
> Inspector General Hotline
> Office of the Inspector General
> NASA Communications Policy
> NASA Advisory Council
> Open Government at NASA
Last Updated: 10 Aug 2012