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Sunday, August 05, 2012


What will Earth Look Like from Curiosity's Landing Spot on Mars?

The morning sky on Mars from Curiosity's landing site at 3:30 UT, 2 hours before Curiosity lands (simulated in Stellarium; click to embiggen)Location of Curiosity on Mars, courtesy of Mars24 (click to embiggen)

Mars, Spica and Saturn for a triangle in the west in the  early evening sky (click to embiggen). 

As I've noted before, when Curiosity sets down on Mars, Mars, Saturn and the bright star Spica form an attractive triangle in the evening sky. But what will Earth look like on Mars?

In the morning sky, as seen from Curiosity's landing site, Earth, Venus and Mercury will form a straight line. On the day of landing Phobos will zip past the trio as dawn approaches.

Earth will be 3/4 gibbous a s seen from Mars, with Australia facing the Red Planet. Australia's Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex will play a vital role n communicating with the rover when it lands. Sometime after the landing Curiosity will start sending back images, the raw images can be seen here as they are uploaded.

The phase and orientation of Earth 2 hours before Curiosity touches down (simulated telescopic view). 

For information on where you can watch the coverage of Curiosity's landing live (or as live as you get with an 8 minute light speed lag) see my previous post.

The map of the Curiosity landing site was from the Mars24 Mars clock application (hat tip to Emily Lakdawallah).

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thanks for sharing.
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