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Snapshot of Mother Earth from Mars
05.22.03
 
NASA's Mars Global Surveyor captured this image of Earth while orbiting Mars. The moon is visible in the background. Have you ever wondered what you would see if you stood on Mars looking back at the Earth through a small telescope?

Now you can see Earth through the eyes of our space-faring wanderer -- the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft -- which currently orbits the Red Planet. In fact, the spacecraft has flown around Mars for years, since September 1997.

Image to left: NASA's Mars Global Surveyor captured this image of Earth while orbiting Mars. With special processing, the moon is visible in the background. The image shows the Earth-facing hemisphere of the Moon, since the Moon was on the far side of Earth as viewed from Mars.

The camera aboard the Mars Global Surveyor captured the first-ever image of Mother Earth as a tiny alien world in the vast darkness of space. "Taking this picture allowed us to look up from that work of exploring Mars and take in a more panoramic view. This image gives us a new perspective on that neighborhood, one in which we can see our own planet as one among many," said Dr. Michael Malin, the camera's remote operator from back on Earth.

NASA's Mars Global Surveyor captured this image of Earth while orbiting Mars. Central America can be faintly identified. Image to left: Zoom in for a closer look at Earth. Central America is faintly visible. We've provided an overlay to help you see the land mass more clearly.

The image of Earth actually shows our home as a planetary disk, in a "half-Earth" phase. The bright area at the top of the image of Earth is cloud cover over central and eastern North America. Below that, a darker area includes Central America and the Gulf of Mexico. The bright feature near the center-right of the crescent Earth consists of clouds over northern South America.

+ View the image in greater detail to see the giant planet Jupiter and some of its larger moons.

+ Read the press release.

 
 
Jet Propulsion Lab