One Mars Orbiter Takes First Photos of Other Orbiters

May 19, 2005
One Mars Orbiter Takes First Photos of Other Orbiters

Photographs from NASA's Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft released today are the first pictures ever taken of a spacecraft orbiting a foreign planet by another spacecraft orbiting that planet.

This view is an enlargement of an image of NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft taken by the Mars Orbiter Camera aboard NASA's Mars Global Surveyor while the two spacecraft were about 90 kilometers (56 miles) apart.

Mars Global Surveyor has been orbiting Mars since 1997, Mars Odyssey since 2001. Both are managed for NASA by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif. Mars Express has been in orbit since late 2003.

Mars Express was passing about 155 miles away when the Mars Orbiter Camera on Mars Global Surveyor photographed it on April 20. The next day, the camera caught Mars Odyssey passing 56 to 84 miles away.

All three spacecraft are moving at almost 7,000 miles per hour, and at 62 miles distance the field-of-view of the Mars Orbiter Camera is only 830 yards across. If timing had been off by only a few seconds, the images would have been blank.

The images were obtained by the Mars Global Surveyor operations teams at Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver; JPL and Malin Space Science Systems.

The new images of the European Space Agency's Mars Express and NASA's Mars Odyssey are available on the Internet from NASA at www.nasa.gov/vision/universe/s… stem/mgs-images.html

Explore further: Mysterious molecules in space

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NASA and Microsoft Provide Mars 3-D Close Encounter

Jul 12, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA and Microsoft Research are bringing Mars to life with new features in the WorldWide Telescope software that provide viewers with a high-resolution 3-D map of the Red Planet.

An Opportunity for life: Finding Mars' most liveable mud

Jan 24, 2014

Coinciding with ten years of the NASA Mars Exploration Rover Project, research published today in Science has found some of the oldest evidence of past water on Mars – and confirmed it was ideal to nurture life ...

The experts behind Gaia's arrival at nothingness

Jan 16, 2014

With a final, modest, thruster burn yesterday afternoon, ESA's billion-star surveyor finalised its entry into orbit around 'L2', a virtual point far out in space. But how do you orbit nothing? And who can ...

Recommended for you

Mysterious molecules in space

2 hours ago

Over the vast, empty reaches of interstellar space, countless small molecules tumble quietly though the cold vacuum. Forged in the fusion furnaces of ancient stars and ejected into space when those stars ...

Image: NASA's SDO observes a lunar transit

10 hours ago

On July 26, 2014, from 10:57 a.m. to 11:42 a.m. EDT, the moon crossed between NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory and the sun, a phenomenon called a lunar transit.

Image: Tethys in sunlight

10 hours ago

Tethys, like many moons in the solar system, keeps one face pointed towards the planet around which it orbits. Tethys' anti-Saturn face is seen here, fully illuminated, basking in sunlight. On the right side ...

User comments : 0