02.08.2017 Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Observes Changes
01.26.2017 Mono Lake
01.25.2017 'Wing' Dike of Hardened Lava in New Mexico
01.25.2017 Blade-Like Martian Walls Outline Polygons
01.23.2017 Spirit And Opportunity By The Numbers
01.10.2017 Mars 2020 Rover - Artist's Concept
01.06.2017 Earth and Its Moon, as Seen From Mars
12.13.2016 Now and Long Ago at Gale Crater, Mars
12.13.2016 Where's Boron? Mars Rover Detects It
11.15.2016 Schiaparelli Impact Site on Mars, Stereo
11.03.2016 Schiaparelli Impact Site on Mars, in Color
10.17.2016 MAVEN Captures Rapid Cloud Formation
10.17.2016 Mars' Nightside Atmosphere
10.17.2016 Ultraviolet Image Near Mars' South Pole
10.17.2016 Ultraviolet Mars Reveals Cloud Formation
10.05.2016 Dust Haze Hiding the Martian Surface in 2001
10.04.2016 Test of Lander Vision System for Mars 2020
10.03.2016 A Sharpened Ultraviolet View of Mars
10.03.2016 Curiosity Self-Portrait at 'Murray Buttes'
10.03.2016 Butte 'M9a' in 'Murray Buttes' on Mars
09.19.2016 Ribbon Cutting
09.09.2016 Farewell to Murray Buttes (Image 5)
09.09.2016 Farewell to Murray Buttes (Image 4)
09.09.2016 Farewell to Murray Buttes (Image 3)
09.09.2016 Farewell to Murray Buttes (Image 2)
09.09.2016 Farewell to Murray Buttes (Image 1)
08.26.2016 Out-of-this-World Records
08.04.2016 Mars Rover Is New Social Media Game
08.04.2016 Mars Rover Social Media Game
08.02.2016 Artist Concept for RIMFAX
07.20.2016 Viking 40 Year Anniversary Artwork: Medal
07.18.2016 Mars 2020 Range Trigger
07.14.2016 NASA to Launch Mars Rover in 2020
Vehicle for Lofting a Sample Approaches Mars (No labels)This artist's concept of a proposed Mars sample return mission portrays a series of six steps in the spacecraft's landing on Mars. NASA and the European Space Agency are collaborating on proposals for a mission to gather samples of Martian rocks and bring them to Earth after 2020. This illustration depicts preliminary concepts, not a finished design.
The series begins at upper left, where the aeroshell capsule is still attached to the cruise stage that has provided power and maneuvering during the trip from Earth to Mars.
After jettisoning the cruise stage, the aeroshell uses friction with the Martian atmosphere to decelerate. The aeroshell protects other components of the flight system (enclosed inside) from the heat generated during the plunge through the upper atmosphere.
In the third step portrayed, the spacecraft's parachute further slows the descent.
After separation from the parachute and aeroshell, retro rockets on the descent stage fire to control the speed of the final approach toward the ground.
The descent stage begins lowering the lander on a bridle. Timing of crucial steps during this final approach is based on radar input about the spacecraft's altitude and velocity.
The lander -- bearing a rover and an ascent vehicle -- touches down, the connecting cords are severed and the descent stage flies out of the way.
After the landing, the rover would deliver previously cached samples to the ascent vehicle, which would then lift the samples off the surface of Mars for a rendezvous in orbit with a spacecraft that would take the samples to Earth.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech