What Mars Would Look Like (If You Were Orbiting It)

An astronaut's-eye view of the Red Planet

We are familiar -- though not as familiar, of course, as we'd like to be -- with Mars. We know what the planet looks like from a distance. We know what it looks like from up close. But what about the space between? What would Mars look like if you were orbiting it?

In the composite film above, the European Space Agency combined 600 individual still images captured by Mars Express's Visual Monitoring Camera on May 27, 2010 -- the spacecraft's 8,194th orbit. The images, taken during a seven-hour range (on Earth), were transmitted back to us via ESA's New Norcia deep space station in Australia.

Portrayed in the video are the craft's slow descent from high above the planet: You can watch the images speeding up and then slowing down again as the distance from the planet increases. You can also see, toward the beginning of the video, "giant Martian volcanoes," followed by "the beginning of the ice coverage around the South Pole as the spacecraft crosses over to the night side of the planet." At the end of the film, if you look closely, you can see the disk of Phobos as it crosses from the top of the image to the bottom. 

Not quite the same as being an astronaut orbiting Mars ... but it comes pretty close.


Via Universe Today.

Presented by

Megan Garber is a staff writer at The Atlantic.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Technology

Just In