Image: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captures the Earth and its moon

January 9, 2017, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captures the Earth and its moon
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

From the most powerful telescope orbiting Mars comes a new view of Earth and its moon, showing continent-size detail on the planet and the relative size of the moon.

The image combines two separate exposures taken on Nov. 20, 2016, by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The images were taken to calibrate HiRISE data, since the reflectance of the 's Earth-facing side is well known. For presentation, the exposures were processed separately to optimize detail visible on both Earth and the moon. The moon is much darker than Earth and would barely be visible if shown at the same brightness scale as Earth.

The combined view retains the correct positions and sizes of the two bodies relative to each other. The distance between Earth and the moon is about 30 times the diameter of Earth. Earth and the moon appear closer than they actually are in this image because the observation was planned for a time at which the moon was almost directly behind Earth, from Mars' point of view, to see the Earth-facing side of the moon. 

In the image, the reddish feature near the middle of the face of Earth is Australia. When the component images were taken, Mars was about 127 million miles (205 million kilometers) from Earth.

With HiRISE and five other instruments, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has been investigating Mars since 2006.

Explore further: Earth and Mars captured together in one photo from lunar orbit (w/ Video)

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not rated yet Jan 09, 2017
Does anyone know if there has ever been a Mars type rover sent to the Moon to take close up pictures of all the Apollo Moon Mission equipment left behind, such as the Lunar Buggy? The only pictures I've been able to find of the Moon that were taken somewhat recently were from or taken by the LRO and there isn't any detail or close up pictures of the Moon. The Chinese sent their rover up a couple of years ago, but it wasn't working very long, only sent back a few pictures. I'm curious to see any kind of damage to the Apollo Mission equipment sustained from or by micrometeorites.
Frosted Flake
4 / 5 (1) Jan 09, 2017
That photo is truly exceptional. Where can I get a big, highest res version?
Mark Thomas
3.7 / 5 (3) Jan 09, 2017
"Does anyone know if there has ever been a Mars type rover sent to the Moon to take close up pictures of all the Apollo Moon Mission equipment left behind, such as the Lunar Buggy?"

Not yet, but it has been proposed. There should be some primary and secondary micrometeorite impact damage,

1 / 5 (2) Jan 09, 2017
@FF - Looks like this is about as good as it gets from Mars.
No one would have believed, in the last years of the nineteenth century, that human affairs were being watched from the timeless worlds of space. No one would have dreamed that we were being scrutinised as someone with a microscope studies creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. Few men even considered the possibility of life on other planets. And yet, across the gulf of space, minds immeasurably superior to ours regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly, and surely, they drew their plans against us...

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