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Mars Express Seen by Global Surveyor
Mars Express Seen by Global Surveyor (click to enlarge)

Mars Express Seen by Global Surveyor
Date: 20 Apr 2005

This picture of the European Space Agency's Mars Express spacecraft by the Mars Orbiter Camera on NASA's Mars Global Surveyor is from the first successful imaging of any spacecraft orbiting a foreign planet taken by another spacecraft orbiting that planet.

The picture is a composite of two views of Mars Express that Mars Orbiter Camera acquired on April 20, 2005, from distances of about 250 and 370 kilometers (155 and 229 miles).

Owing to the large distance between Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Express when the two views could be acquired and to a substantial cross-track component of apparent motion for which no correction could be made, Mars Express appears in the image as a narrow blur rather than as a well-defined spacecraft. It appears in the image to be about 1.5 meters in the small dimension and 15 meters in the long dimension, which is consistent with the viewing distance, pixel scale, and encounter geometry.

The components of Mars Express when viewed from the same angle as this image can be seen in an artist's rendition artist's rendition and an annotated rendition , of the spacecraft.

Mars Express was launched on June 3, 2003, and reached Mars on Dec. 25, 2003. Mars Global Surveyor left Earth on Nov. 7, 1996, and arrived in Mars orbit on Sept. 12, 1997. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, manages Mars Global Surveyor for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/MSSS


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Last Updated: 20 Jan 2011