NASA InSight lander snaps pics of Martian sunrise and sunset

Shane McGlaun - May 2, 2019, 7:44 am CDT
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NASA InSight lander snaps pics of Martian sunrise and sunset

NASA has shared some images of sunrise and sunset on Mars that were snapped by the InSight lander. The spacecraft captured the images on April 24 and April 25 at the 145-day mark of the rover’s mission. NASA says that the images were taken at 5:30 a.m. and then at 6:30 p.m. in local Mars time. A camera under the deck of the lander also caught some clouds drifting across the Marian sky.

NASA offered RAW and color corrected versions of the images. The color corrected versions (seen here) show what the human eye would see if a person was standing on the surface of the Red Planet and witnessing the sunrise and sunset. The InSight team notes that the images here are the second time that InSight has taken sunrise and sunset images.

The first time it snapped practice images was on March 2 and 10. NASA decided to snap the photos of the sunrise and sunset as it is a tradition and its primary imaging tasks were complete. The first NASA spacecraft to capture sunrise and sunset from another planet was the Viking 1 lander.

Viking 1 snapped its first sunset on August 21, 1976, and the first sunrise on June 14, 1978. Since Viking took those first images, sunrises and sunsets have been recorded by the Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity rovers among other missions.

The instrument that inSight used to take the photos was the Instrument Deployment Camera or IDC. The IDC is attached to the end of the robotic arm InSight is fitted with. The image with the clouds streaming by looks like a foggy and overcast day here on Earth. InSight detected its fist marsquake last month using its sensitive scientific instruments.


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