Even the Curiosity rover turns out to be somewhat of a litter bug.
About 10 minutes before the one-ton robot dropped through the Martian atmosphere, it got rid of its cruise stage and two 165-pound blocks of tungsten, which had kept the rover stable during its journey to Mars.
The cruise stage includes all the equipment, like solar panels for energy and thrusters, needed to get Curiosity from Earth to Mars.
New images beamed down from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter show the impact scars from the two tungsten counter-weights and the cruise stage, which broke apart and landed about 50 miles from where Curiosity hunkered down at its landing site, later named Bradbury Landing, in Gale Crater on Aug. 5.
Since scientists know the size, weight, and shape of the objects that smashed into the Martian surface, they can use this information to better understand the nature of crater formation on Mars.
Take a look at some of the images below:
[credit provider=” NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona ” url=”http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/multimedia/images/?ImageID=4924&NewsInfo=59C884BFF2B8E0EFCDDF01B94F94BA55AC4A8F9603007BD4C14A50EBADDEDD89DF99D9D4E8DDDF46C75594E5C881C64FC7919A519C”]
[credit provider=”NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona ” url=”http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/images/PIA16456-scars-br2.jpg”]