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New NASA Video Captures Drama of Mars Landing

Viewers can now relive the drama of the Curiosity rover’s landing on Mars with a new NASA video detailing the final moments of touchdown.

360-degree image from Mars rover (NASA)

The space agency Thursday posted the video on its website embedded with audio from mission control. It starts with the heat shield falling away. The ground grows larger in view as Curiosity is lowered by cables inside an ancient Martian crater. “Touchdown confirmed” is heard followed by cheers.

Curiosity is the first spacecraft to record a landing on another planet. The six-wheel rover arrived on Aug. 5 to begin a two-year mission to examine whether the Martian environment was hospitable for microbial life.

NASA previously released a low-quality video of Curiosity’s landing. The latest video is higher quality, but it’s incomplete and missing several frames.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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