August 22, 2012 | 33
Ok, so every so often something comes along that just blows away everything you’ve seen before. This is one of those things. Soon after Curiosity made landfall we got to see a glimpse of a low-resolution and highly compressed time-lapse video of the descent, showing the heat-shield fall away and a precipitous drop to the martian surface. It was very cool.
Now this is very, very, very cool. Visual effects dab-hand, Daniel Luke Fitch, has used the more recently available HD frames of the descent to make this jaw-dropping movie. As he explains, it runs at 15 frames a second, which represents a speed-up of real events by 3 times. So the actual descent was not quite as ferocious, but it was pretty darn close.
The fidelity is astonishing. Early on, at around the 2-3 second mark, and again at 0:08 you can see the diffuse glow of what I think must be atmospheric and dust reflection of sunlight. The final drop happens at around 0:33, it’s pretty messy, one can only presume that without the sky crane it would’ve been even more so.
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