What happens to the sky crane after it drops off the Curiosity rover?

I’ve been wondering and haven’t been able to find any information on it. Where does the sky crane go after it drops off Curiosity? You see it fly off in all of the videos, but no information is given on where it goes? Does anyone know?

9 Responses to “What happens to the sky crane after it drops off the Curiosity rover?”

  1. John W  on September 9th, 2012

    It crashes in the distance.


  2. Choose a bloody best answer. It's not hard.  on September 9th, 2012

    Nowhere in particular. Planners had to be certain it simply went far enough not to be in the way of the rover, so a good push up and in one direction ensured that.


  3. Star Dust  on September 9th, 2012

    It flies off a safe distance from Curiosity and then is allowed to crash. It’s done its job and there’s no reason to keep it around.


  4. GeoffG  on September 9th, 2012

    It was programmed to fly off to the side well away from Curiosity’s landing spot, and then crash. NASA doesn’t like to say much about it, because it dumped a mess of nuclear fuel!

    One of the 2004 rovers actually travelled to where its heat shield fell, and was able to photograph it.


  5. vorenhutz  on September 9th, 2012

    I assume it flies off to a safe distance, loses control and crashes somewhere. at that point it’s basically just an empty fuel tank, possibly they don’t bother to track it.


  6. Life Experience  on September 9th, 2012

    If you download the simulation called Eyes on the Solar System from NASA, you can watch the sky crane crash somewhere off in the distance in the same crater that Curiosity is in. It had quite a bit more reserve fuel than they expected so it might have flown further than shown.

    edit: they might have disabled that simulation now. I can’t get it to work.


  7. digquickly  on September 9th, 2012

    Well, …, it flies away and crashes in the distance. In the coming days the MRO will fly over the landing site and send pictures back of both the parachute, Heat Sheild, Capsule, and Sky Crane. In the meantime watch the video below. It will help you learn more information about what happened.

    — Edit —
    Check out the last link below. it show the parachute, Capsule, and the heat shield (after separation) all still in free flight. Give it some time they’ll find the sky crane for you.

    — Edit 2 —
    Here’s the link to a photo showing where the Heat Sheild, Backshell and Parachute, Curiosity, and yes, the skycrane are in relation to each other on Mars. See: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/multimedia/PIA16001.html


  8. Quadrillian  on September 9th, 2012

    On this mission it simply flew off to one side then fell to the surface of Mars.

    In future missions they may allow the skycrane to gently touch down and use it as a base station.
    This mission it was achievement enough just to get the rover down safely.



  9. Miles Dewar  on September 9th, 2012

    It flies away and crashes.


Leave a Reply