From a distance of about 127 million miles, NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter looks back at our home world.
There have certainly been better pictures taken of Earth, but few rival the perspective offered by a spacecraft circling a neighbor planet.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/U of Arizona
NASA on Friday released a composite image taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which as its name implies, is currently at work around Mars, not Earth.
Engineers wanted the picture to calibrate the spacecraft’s high-resolution camera since the reflectivity of the moon’s near side is well documented.
MRO snapped the separate pictures of Earth and the moon on Nov. 20. The images were then combined into a single picture that retains the correct sizes and positions of the two bodies relative to each other, NASA noted in a press release.
“The reddish feature in the middle of the Earth image is Australia. Southeast Asia appears as the reddish area (due to vegetation) near the top; Antarctica is the bright blob at bottom-left. Other bright areas are clouds,” NASA said.
MRO previously captured a view of its home world in October 2007.