Images Show Mars in Real Time

With a slight delay, European Space Agency sends images for an hour
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 2, 2023 2:12 PM CDT

People of Earth had their first almost live view of Mars on Friday afternoon, streamed by the European Space Agency. For about an hour, a new image appeared every 50 seconds on YouTube and Twitter that was captured by a camera on the agency's Mars Express orbiter. There were complications and caveats, CNN reports: Sending live pictures to Earth isn't easy, and this had never been attempted. "Normally, we see images from Mars and know that they were taken days before," the space agency's James Godfrey said in a statement beforehand. "I'm excited to see Mars as it is now—as close to a martian 'now' as we can possibly get!"

The camera panned Mars, providing a look at the planet entering into night. Clouds were visible in a corner, per NPR. The show can't quite be live, because the snap takes 3 to 22 minutes to reach Earth once light reflects off Mars. Stars could not be seen because Mars is so bright, a scientist said. And the planet didn't look red. The livestream showed images the way they'd look on an iPhone, not quite the way the naked eye would see the planet, the agency said. The photos also go through a bit of processing to remove noise that can affect the image. The occasion for the presentation was the 20th anniversary of the Mars Express mission. (More Mars stories.)

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