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Rover parachute flaps in Mars wind

This NASA image taken on February 3, 2013 shows a self-portrait of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity created by a combination of dozens of exposures taken by the rover's Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), on the surface of Mars, February 20, 2013. UPI/NASA
This NASA image taken on February 3, 2013 shows a self-portrait of NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity created by a combination of dozens of exposures taken by the rover’s Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), on the surface of Mars, February 20, 2013. UPI/NASA
PASADENA, Calif., April 3 (UPI) — Visible signs of winds on Mars have come from an unexpected source — photographs of the parachute that helped NASA’s Curiosity rover land on Mars last summer.

A series of photos from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter show the used parachute shifting its shape at least twice in response to wind, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., reported Wednesday.

Seven images of the parachute on the surface of the Red Planet were taken by taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera, called the HiRISE, on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter between Aug. 12 and Jan. 13.

HiRISE’s first image of Curiosity’s parachute caught the spacecraft suspended from the chute during descent through the martian atmosphere; periodically, the camera has taken additional photos as it passed over the site where the parachute came to rest.

The sequence of photos can be viewed at http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/MRO/multimedia/pia16813.html.

Copyright 2013 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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