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NASA released a pair of highly anticipated Mars portraits from the Hubble Space Telescope today as the observatory's operators took advantage of a proximity to the red planet not equaled in 59,619 years.
The first color photograph, released early in the morning, includes Mars' Hellas Basin, a huge impact crater, and the southern polar ice cap is unmistakable.
The second image shows Mars' version of the Grand Canyon, called Valles Marineris, a vast system of gorges and side canyons that stretches across 2,485 miles (4,000 kilometers) of the Martian surface. Drop Valles Marineris on the United States and would reach nearly coast to coast.
They are the most detailed full-globe shots of Mars ever obtained from Earth's vicinity.
said Cornell University astronomer Jim Bell.
These images are likely to be the ones that appear in astronomy textbooks for the next decade to century because they are the best resolution we can get from Earth for a long time,
Not until 2287 will the two worlds be so close again.
Originally posted by darkbluesky
Nice picture, but it was taken as MRO was departing earth, not all the way from Mars.
The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera would make a great backyard telescope for viewing Mars, and we can also use it at Mars to view other planets. This is an image of Earth and the moon, acquired on October 3, 2007, by the HiRISE camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
At the time the image was taken, Earth was 142 million kilometers (88 million miles) from Mars, giving the HiRISE image a scale of 142 kilometers (88 miles) per pixel, an Earth diameter of about 90 pixels and a moon diameter of 24 pixels. The phase angle is 98 degrees, which means that less than half of the disk of the Earth and the disk of the moon have direct illumination. We could image Earth and moon at full disk illumination only when they are on the opposite side of the sun from Mars, but then the range would be much greater and the image would show less detail.
Originally posted by tylerc25211
wow, didnt realize the moon was that far away from us :S. earth looks prety big compared to how mars looks from here, i know mars is smaller but still...
Originally posted by IntergalacticHippy
very cool photo! Although that picture doesn't give any indication of the distance between the earth and the moon. The perspective in the photo could be side on to the moons orbital path, in which case, the same view would allow the moon to be directly in front of the Earth. Which means that in this photo the moon might not appear be at it's furthest point from the Earth giving the illusion that the moon is closer to earth than it actually is.