NASA's InSight lander captures sunrise, sunset on Mars

Source: Xinhua| 2019-05-02 16:34:07|Editor: Shi Yinglun
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LOS ANGELES, May 1 (Xinhua) -- NASA's InSight lander has captured a series of images of sunrise and sunset on Mars recently, according to a release of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California on Wednesday.

A camera on the spacecraft's robotic arm snapped the photos on April 24 and 25, the 145th Martian day of the mission.

The shots were taken starting around 5:30 a.m. and then again starting around 6:30 p.m. in local Mars time.

As the Sun is much farther from Mars than it is from Earth, it appears only about two-thirds the size when viewed from Earth, said NASA.

A camera under the lander's deck also caught clouds drifting across the Martian sky at sunset.

Both "raw" and color-corrected versions of these images are available. It is easier to see some details in the raw images, but the color-corrected versions show the images more accurately as the human eye would see them, according to NASA.

"It has been a tradition for Mars missions to capture sunrises and sunsets," said Justin Maki, InSight science team co-investigator and imaging lead. "With many of our primary imaging tasks complete, we decided to capture the sunrise and sunset as seen from another world."

According to NASA, the first mission to send back such images was the Viking 1 lander, which captured a sunset on Aug. 21, 1976. Two years later, Viking 2 captured a sunrise on June 14, 1978. Since then, both sunrises and sunsets have been recorded by the Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity rovers, among other missions.

InSight landed safely on Mars on Nov. 26, 2018, kicking off a two-year mission to explore the deep interior of the Red Planet.