Mars from 80 Million Km

Credit: ESA / MPS / UPD / LAM / IAA / RSSD / INTA / UPM / DASP / IDA
Image source with larger version

The Cassini Imaging Team make it easy to fall in love with Saturn, but let's not forget that Mars has almost half a dozen robots studying it at the moment. I think we're going to have a bit of a Mars Week on Space Cat Rocket Ship, to try and give the little red planet a chance to catch up with the big ringed one.

This particular image was taken almost a year ago by the ESA probe Rosetta. I posted an image from Rosetta's closest approach here, but this is an equally stunning view from 80,000 times further away (I'm using the distance quoted in this post at the Planetary Society Blog). Mars is the big red blob, slightly fuzzed-up by overexposure.

Rosetta was only using Mars for a gravity assist, of course, and its ultimate goal is to place a lander on the surface of a comet. I'll post some images from less fickle robots over the next few days.

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