Phoenix Parachutes

Mars Phoenix Parachutes
Mars Phoenix Parachutes
Item# P8579a
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Product Description

MRO's HiRISE camera acquired this dramatic oblique image of Phoenix descending on its parachute. Thus, although Phoenix appears to hang from the parachute at an angle, as if swaying in the wind, the exact geometry has not yet been determined. The parachute image is very sharp as its apparent motion was straight down the HiRISE TDI (time delay integration) columns. However, the surface of Mars was moving at an angle to the TDI columns, and thus is smeared by a few pixels, although the smear is not apparent at the reduced scale of the image shown here.

The sun is almost directly behind HiRISE, so the parachute should be casting a shadow onto the slope of the crater, but we cannot determine which of many dark spots is the shadow until a detailed geometric analysis has been completed.

A wider view with this inset is available here.

Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona