Curiosity's landing over Mars is the latest news in outer space news today.
The descent of this space machine from the atmosphere onto the surface of Mars takes 7 minutes. This is difficult task because the atmosphere of Mars is 100 times thinner than that of Earth. Guided entry and deceleration from the current speed of 1000 mph helps in the descent.
Now the parachute deploys at 900 mph. At 370 mph the heat shield separates. At this point the rover is at an altitude of 9 km away and is powered to descent at 70 mph. In the 2 minutes available before landing, the camera placed at the bottom of the rover will click images at 5 frames per second.
Finally, the sky cranes moving at 2 mph prepare for the descent of the rover. The descent requires a thrust of 8 rockets to slow its speed for a smooth landing.
For the final touch down the rover is suspended at a height of 25 feet from the ground. When it finally touches the ground, the bridle is cut off and the descent machine is allowed to fly off to a crash landing.