NASA researchers used the Curiosity Mars rover’s Mast Camera (MastCam) to capture an image of the night sky from the surface of Mars, which depicts Earth as a bright star in the sky some 99 million miles away.
The image shows Earth as it appears from the surface of Mars about 80 minutes after sunset, according to a NASA release, which says that if a human observer with normal vision were standing in the place where the image were taken, that Earth and the moon would appear as two distinct, bright "evening stars."
Curiosity’s MastCam was designed to take color images and color video footage of the Martian terrain. It consists of two separate cameras with different focal lengths and difference science color filters. One camera has a ~34 mm focal length, f/8 lens that illuminates a 15° square field-of-view (FOV), 1,200 x 1,200 pixels on the 1,600 x 1,200 pixel detector and the other has a ~100 mm focal length, f/10 lens that illuminates a 5.1° square, 1,200 x 1,200 pixel FOV.
MastCam also features a KAI-2020 1,600 x 1,200 pixel interline transfer CCD image sensor from Truesense Imaging. The camera captures images in full color at more than four full resolution images per second, as well as full-color 720p HD video (1,280 x 720 pixels) at a frame rate of 10 fps.
NASA’s Curiosity rover was deployed to assess ancient habitable environments and major changes in Martial environmental conditions. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory built the rover and manages the project for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington.
View high resolution images captured by the Curiosity rover.
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