Help Shape the Future of Space Exploration

Join The Planetary Society Now  arrow.png

Join our eNewsletter for updates & action alerts

    Please leave this field empty

Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla

Animation: Mars Express rising above the north pole

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla

11-08-2010 9:08 CDT

Topics: pretty pictures, amateur image processing, Mars Express, Mars, animation

The "Mars Webcam" on Mars Express (otherwise known as the Visual Monitoring Camera or VMC) has just restarted sending images to Earth after a bit of a hiatus. Not being a science instrument, VMC gets the lowest downlink priority among all of ESA's spacecraft and instruments, so was crowded out through July by demands from Rosetta for Lutetia data and from conditions being unusually good for the other optical instruments aboard Mars Express. Last week they posted to the VMC blog the first few image sets I've seen for a while, showing Mars in a relatively high phase, but nothing out of the ordinary for VMC. Yesterday, though, I found a really nice set that I just had to animate, taken from a relatively low altitude over the picturesque swirls of Mars' north polar cap, which is brightly lit now by round-the-clock summer sun.

Mars Express flies away from the north pole

ESA / animation by Emily Lakdawalla

Mars Express flies away from the north pole
This animation is composed of 23 photos taken by the "Mars Webcam" aboard Mars Express, spanning a little more than half an hour on August 9, 2010. During the animation, Mars Express recedes from an altitude of about 4,100 kilometers to about 7,000 kilometers above the planet. The twisted canyons of Mars' north polar cap occupy the center of the view.

Want to learn for yourself how to process these images? Watch my tutorial video here. Here are a couple of other past VMC posts: Phobos' shadow transit; 64 views of Mars.

See other posts from August 2010


Or read more blog entries about: pretty pictures, amateur image processing, Mars Express, Mars, animation


Leave a Comment:

You must be logged in to submit a comment. Log in now.
Facebook Twitter Email RSS AddThis

Blog Search

Essential Advocacy

Our Advocacy Program provides each Society member a voice in the process.

Funding is critical. The more we have, the more effective we can be, translating into more missions, more science, and more exploration.


Featured Images

Comparison of Schiaparelli and Opportunity landing locations
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Context Camera image of Curiosity landing site
Schiaparelli landing site, after landing attempt
Ewen Whitaker
More Images

Featured Video

The Planetary Post - Star Trek 50th Anniversary

Watch Now

Space in Images

Pretty pictures and
awe-inspiring science.

See More

Join The Planetary Society

Let’s explore the cosmos together!

Become a Member

Connect With Us

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more…
Continue the conversation with our online community!