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Entry, Descent, & Landing Chart
Credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell

From its location at the inner edge of the small crater surrounding it, Opportunity was able to look out to the plains of Meridiani Planum where its backshell (left) and parachute (right) landed. This approximate true-color image was created by combining data from the Pancam panoramic camera's red, green and blue filters. (released Feb. 9, 2004)

After each MER spacecraft completes its long journey to Mars, it must make a safe landing. A supersonic parachute will slow its descent. Then a cluster of airbags will inflate around the craft at a thousand feet above the martian surface. These airbags form a protective cushion for a violent landing that includes several high bounces and a long roll.

EDL Chart

Learn more about Entry, Descent, and Landing

Credit: NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

Opportunity's new neighborhood at Meridiani Planum shows remnants of the rover's landing, including its lander; backshell and parachute; first bounce mark; and the site where its heat shield impacted the surface. The image was taken by a camera onboard the Mars Global Surveyor orbiter. (released Feb. 9, 2004)

Credit: NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

An image of Spirit's lander, backshell, parachute, heatshield, and bounce marks on the surface of Mars captured more than two weeks after the Jan. 3 landing by the Mars Global Surveyor camera.

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