Curiosity's first photo of home planet Earth from Mars

Feb 07, 2014 by Ken Kremer, Universe Today
This evening-sky view taken by NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity shows the Earth and Earth’s moon as seen on Jan. 31, 2014, or Sol 529 shortly after sunset at the Dingo Gap inside Gale Crater. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/TAMU

18 months into her mission to discover a habitable zone on the Red Planet, NASA's Curiosity rover has at last looked back to the inhabited zone of all humanity and snapped her 1st image of all 7 Billion Earthlings living on the Home Planet.

"Look Back in Wonder… My first picture of Earth from the surface of Mars," tweeted Curiosity today.

Car-sized Curiosity captured the evocative image of Earth as an evening star in the Martian sky just days ago on Jan. 31, 2014, or Sol 529, some 80 minutes after sunset.

And what's more is that the evening sky view even includes the Earth's Moon.

Earth shines brilliantly as the brightest beacon in the Martian twilight sky view taken from the rovers current location at the edge of a sand dune dubbed the 'Dingo Gap.'

"A human observer with normal vision, if standing on Mars, could easily see Earth and the moon as two distinct, bright "evening stars," said NASA in a statement issued today.

Annotated evening-sky view taken by NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity shows the Earth and Earth’s moon – enlarged in inset – as seen on Jan. 31, 2014, or Sol 529 shortly after sunset at the Dingo Gap sand dune. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/TAMU

Right now Curiosity's handlers are pondering whether to climb over the 1 meter tall and cross into the smooth terrain of the valley beyond the 'Dingo Gap' – as an alternate path to minimize damaging encounters with sharp edged Martian rocks that are puncturing holes and ripping tears into the robots six wheels.

To be clear, these are not the first images of the Earth from Mars orbit or Mars surface.

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit imaged Earth from the surface in March 2004, soon after landing in Gusev Crater in January 2004.

Two of NASA's other Red Planet explorers also imaged Earth; Mars Global Surveyor in 2003 and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in 2007.

Curiosity’s first photo of home planet Earth from Mars
The Earth and the moon in this evening-sky view taken by Curiosity’s telephoto Mastcam right-eye camera on Jan. 31, 2014, or Sol 529 shortly after sunset at the Dingo Gap. Moon’s brightness was enhanced to aid visibility. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/TAMU

More recently, NASA's Cassini orbiter at Saturn spied the Earth and Moon during the Wave at Saturn event in July 2013 from a distance of 898 million miles (1.44 billion kilometers).

The most famous and distant of all is the 'Pale Blue Dot' image of Earth taken by NASA's Voyager 1 probe in 1990 from about 6 billion kilometers (3.7 billion miles) away.

Explore further: NASA Mars rover's color view of likely route West

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Mars orbiter images rover and tracks in Gale Crater

Jan 09, 2014

(Phys.org) —NASA's Curiosity Mars rover and its recent tracks from driving in Gale Crater appear in an image taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance ...

Recommended for you

Bad weather delays Japan asteroid probe lift off

4 hours ago

Bad weather will delay the launch of a Japanese space probe on a six-year mission to mine a distant asteroid, just weeks after a European spacecraft's historic landing on a comet captivated the world.

Manchester scientists boost NASA's missions to Mars

13 hours ago

Computer Scientists from The University of Manchester have boosted NASA space missions by pioneering a global project to develop programs that efficiently test and control NASA spacecraft.

ESA image: The gold standard

14 hours ago

The Eutelsat-9B satellite with its EDRS-A payload is shown in the anechoic test chamber of Airbus Defence and Space in Toulouse, France, having completed its final antenna pattern tests today.

Frost-covered chaos on Mars

14 hours ago

Thanks to a break in the dusty 'weather' over the giant Hellas Basin at the beginning of this year, ESA's Mars Express was able to look down into the seven kilometre-deep basin and onto the frosty surface ...

Rosetta's comet: In the shadow of the coma

21 hours ago

This NAVCAM mosaic comprises four individual images taken on 20 November from a distance of 30.8 km from the centre of Comet 67P/C-G. The image resolution is 2.6 m/pixel, so each original 1024 x 1024 pixel ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Miccles
5 / 5 (1) Feb 07, 2014
We're all in this picture!
vlaaing peerd
not rated yet Feb 10, 2014
one big happy, neurotic, megalomaniac, war mongering, sick and insane family.

and we didn't even bother to say cheese.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.