Rover on Mars snaps photo of Earth, shining like an 'evening star'

Feb. 7, 2014 at 6:45 PM

PASADENA, Calif., Feb. 7 (UPI) -- NASA says its Curiosity Mars rover has captured an image of Earth shining as the brightest point in the martian sky like an "evening star."

Both the Earth and moon are visible in the image released Thursday, a view of the twilight sky and martian horizon taken by the rover Jan. 31, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., reported.

The distance between Earth and Mars when Curiosity captured the image was about 99 million miles, JPL scientists said.

"Look Back in Wonder," a text from the Curiosity Rover's official Twitter feed said. "My 1st picture of Earth from the surface of Mars."

The photo was taken about 80 minutes after Mars' sunset with what JPL scientists call Curiosity's "left eye camera" on its "Mastcam."

"A human observer with normal vision, if standing on Mars, could easily see Earth and the moon as two distinct, bright 'evening stars,'" NASA said.

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