Spacecraft observed the Earth from the orbit of Mars

The Mars Express spacecraft, which operates in orbit of the red planet, recently photographed the Earth and the Moon with its high-resolution camera. From this distance, they look like two tiny dots.

Mars Express spacecraft. Source: ESA

Mars Express photographed the Earth and the Moon

The European Space Agency (ESA) has released images of the Earth and the Moon taken from the orbit of Mars. They were made by the Mars Express spacecraft; it has been exploring the red planet for almost 20 years.

Mars Express was launched into space in the summer of 2003, and already on Christmas of the same year, it came to Mars and went to a high eccentric planet around it. The spacecraft was designed to observe the surface and everything that happens around.

To do this, Mars Express’s High-Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) was on board. It had a special SRC channel, which was usually used for photographing the stars and two moons of Mars — Phobos and Deimos. And now, with its help, we have received a photo of the Earth and the Moon.

The Earth and the Moon in 2023. Source: ESA

Just dots

The images were obtained on May 15 and 21 and June 2, 2023. On them, the Earth and the Moon look like just two dots: a larger and a smaller one, which carries out its movement around it. The distance to our planet at the same time was about 300 million kilometers.

During the time between which all three frames were taken, the Moon managed to make almost half an orbit around the Earth. Experts note that these photographs have no scientific value, but their cultural significance as evidence of how small our planet really is.

Mars Express has already photographed the Earth and the Moon together, it happened at the very beginning of its mission in the summer of 2003, when its distance from us was only 8 million km. In this image, the two celestial bodies still look like small balls.

Image from 2003. Source: ESA

Experts compare the current photos obtained by Mars Express with the famous Pale Blue Dot photo taken by the Voyager 1 spacecraft in February 1990. Then he photographed our planet from the outskirts of the System and it looked like a very tiny grain of sand, which made Carl Sagan write famous lines about how small humanity really was.

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