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Curiosity lands on Mars: Video of the big drop plus play-by-play

August 23, 2012|By Amy Hubbard

NASA has released raw footage of the Mars landing of the Curiosity rover.

Listening to the audio is nearly as fun as watching the video , which depicts the last couple of minutes before Curiosity reaches its landing site in Gale Crater.

Whoops and applause punctuate the scientific play-by-play.

PHOTOS: Mars rover mission | PANORAMA: Tire tracks on Mars

"We've found a nice flat place, we're coming in ready for sky crane. ... Sky crane is starting."

Visual effects artist Daniel Luke Fitch, based in Santa Fe, N.M., is a science fan who has been keeping tabs on the mission. He created his own version of the landing footage (below), by collecting NASA's high-resolution images as they were uploaded from the rover.

His video -- "cleaned up for the best possibly clarity for posting to the Web" -- has been getting some attention on YouTube.

"When I first heard of this mission and the 'sky crane' approach for landing on Mars ... my immediate thought was 'they need to put a video camera on that thing!' " Fitch said in an email to the Los Angeles Times on Thursday. "Sure enough, they did, so I'm happy to share the results."

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