Mars Curiosity Descent Neural Network
Denis Shiryaev used modern machine-learning techniques to upscale Bard Canning’s incredible footage of the NASA Mars Curiosity descent footage that was originally uploaded on Sep 13, 2012. Weighing nearly 2,000 pounds, Curiosity is simply too large to land with standard airbags, so engineers devised a method that’s never been attempted before that involves a sky crane. Read more for the video and additional information.

Once Curiosity touched down, the cords were cut and the descent stage soared safely off to the side, crashing onto the Martian surface, far enough away to pose no danger to the rover itself. At this point Curiosity, wheels down, was set to begin its mission.

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When the heat shield comes off and the radar turns on, we need to find the ground. When we first eject the heat shield we’re too high for the radar to see the ground yet, so we have to wait a very long 20 to 30 seconds, up to a minute, until the radar can get close enough to the ground to be able to see it. Without that solution it doesn’t even try to do the rest of the landing,” said Steven Sell, deputy operations led for Entry, Descent and Landing at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

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