Earth | An Evening Star | 01-31-2014

At 80 minutes after sunset January 31, 2014, Curiosity Rover and Mars were about 160 million km (99 million miles) from Earth. Curiosity pointed a camera on the Mast-cam above the horizon in the direction of Earth and snapped this photo of the evening sky.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/TAMU

Closer view of the same photo. The small dot of Earth is a little above left of center.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/TAMU

Zoom the image and crop the section with Earth. See a dot just below Earth?

NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/TAMU

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory processed the image to show Earth above and Moon below.

NASA/JPL-Caltech

Standing on Mars with normal vision, Earth and Moon could easily be seen with un-aided eyes.

A musical selection for your enjoyment.

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7 thoughts on “Earth | An Evening Star | 01-31-2014

  1. I absolutely LOVE these images! When the realization hits me, of what I’m looking at, it hits hard. REALLY HARD! Yes, we’ve seen Earth from a distance before, and these images were once rare – becoming more common now, but that doesn’t lessen the impact. Previously, our views of our planet came from spacecraft, this one however is from the surface of another world, taken by a roving science lab which we dropped on that world. WOW!

    As you and Melanie point out, this gives us an entirely new perspective, and yes we are small. But at the same time I can’t helped but be awed by what we small beings, on a small insignificant rock, orbiting a small insignificant star are capable of.

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    • I would love to be able to watch the day to day changes of Earth and Moon positions. I watch the Moon move each day.

      I agree about the ability of we humans to do awesome things. There are people involved in great things all the time. But, to get funding and support is too often a monumental struggle. It forces top notch projects to compete for meager funds. Not the way I would run the world if I was in charge.

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  2. Breath taking… emozionante realizzare ciò che in fondo siamo… un minuscolo granello nell’oscurità siderale! Come riferisce Alex, tutto ciò che abbiamo visto del nostro pianeta, ci è riportato da velivoli o sonde spaziali. Grazie per questa nuova prospettiva, semplicemente coinvolgente!!!
    Un sereno fine settimana 🙂 claudine

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  3. Oh, my! I fully expected your musical selection to be some sort of ethereal, New Age-y piece. How I laughed! I can’t tell you how many nights either my mom or dad would sing that with me at bedtime.

    And those photos are simply marvelous. The only thing I might quibble about just a bit is the whole notion of our insignificance, but that’s taking the discussion in a different direction. What can’t be argued is the marvel of this technology.

    Of course, such things are relative. Back to Liberia for a moment – I met people who never had seen a light bulb until coming to our clinic, and who gazed at those manufactured orbs with the same awe we experience when we see such photos.

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    • I’m glad the music was the right choice for you. Your mom and dad had good taste.

      Yes, we are insignificant in terms of size and scale. We live in a few miles of atmosphere skin of Earth. We aren’t adapted to water or extreme low oxygen.

      Yet, in the last fraction of a second of the cosmic calendar, we have ventured several times to the Moon and back. We have cruised past the influence of the Sun into interstellar space with Voyager.

      We are significant. We can do great things. We must.

      Yet, there are still those who have not seen a bulb, or their own photograph. What a range of experience.

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