Mars orbiter snaps picture of Phoenix descent to planet

Phoenix_on_the_way_downFor the very first time a spacecraft - the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter - has taken a picture of second spacecraft - Phoenix - as it descended to another planetary body. Think about that for a moment.

Clicking on the second image, also taken by MRO, will enlarge it to clearly show - from top to bottom in the image - the lander, the  ejected heat shell, which bounced on the surface, and the chute still attached to the back shell. The lander dropped the last three thousand feet or so from the back shell beforePhoenixfromorbit_2 settling by rocket on the surface. Amazing.