NASA releases amazing HD video of Curiosity Mars rover touchdown

Viewers can now watch a 1080p version of the touchdown of NASA's Curiosity Mars rover, the first spacecraft to record its landing on another planet.

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This is a full-resolution version of the NASA Curiosity rover descent to Mars, taken by the MARDI descent imager. As of August 20, all but a dozen 1600x1200 frames have been uploaded from the rover, and those missing were interpolated using thumbnail data. The result was applied a heavy noise reduction, color balance, and sharpening for best visibility.

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

Curiosity is the first spacecraft to record a landing on another planet. The U.S. 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 into an ancient Martian crater.

"Touchdown confirmed" is heard, followed by cheers.

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The 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 is missing several frames.

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