NASA: Mars rover snapped pic of rocket stage crash

Aug 10, 2012, 3:32 PM EDT

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — The mysterious Mars photo has been solved.

A NASA engineer said Friday he's pretty sure a Curiosity rover camera caught the rocket stage crashing in the distance after it landed in Gale Crater Sunday night.

A grainy, black-and-white picture taken about 40 seconds after landing shows a plume of dust in the distance. It's not visible in a picture taken nearly an hour later.

The Internet was abuzz over the photo for days.

Curiosity touched down on Mars using a new landing technique. During the last few seconds, a rocket stage hovered and slowly lowered the six-wheel rover to the ground. The rocket stage then flew away and crashed.

Engineers say a preliminary reconstruction of the landing reveals everything went according to plan.

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