Earth as Viewed from Mars
10 February 2014

 

Fig. 1

This image, taken on the surface of Mars, the Red Planet,  by the Curiosity Mars rover, shows our mother planet, Earth, as it appears in the sky of Mars, the Red Planet. Earth shines as a star-like object, above and left of image center. The inset above center is an enlargement, showing both Earth and the Moon.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/TAMU

NASA recently published a wonderful image (Fig. 1), acquired by the Curiosity Mars rover, a six-wheeled car-sized robotic rover, exploring the surface of Mars, the Red Planet. The image shows Earth as it appears from Mars. As a star-like object, our home planet was shining brighter than all the stars in the Martian night sky.

Curiosity's picture of Earth even glimpses our Moon, glowing faintly, just below Earth. It was taken about 80 minutes after Martian sunset, on 31 January 2014, Curiosity's 529th Martian day, and is available through the following links.
http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA17936
http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA17935

The distance between Earth and Mars, when Curiosity obtained the photo, was about 160 million km.
NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Project is applying Curiosity, to investigate past habitability and major environmental changes on Mars. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), a division of the California Institute of Technology, Caltech, built the rover, and manages the project for NASA.

Intriguingly, NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Spirit photographed Earth from Mars, in March 2004. This was the first image of Earth to be taken from another planet. Also, NASA’s Saturn-bound Cassini spacecraft imaged Earth, from Saturn orbit, in 2006 and 2013.

For further information about Curiosity, please visit the following webpages.
http://www.nasa.gov/msl
http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/
http://www.facebook.com/marscuriosity
http://www.twitter.com/marscuriosity

References
NASA
www.nasa.gov/

Aymen Mohamed Ibrahem
Senior Astronomy Specialist
 

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