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Emily LakdawallaJune 16, 2016

ExoMars sights Mars

Today ESA released ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter's first photo of Mars, taken from a distance of 41 million kilometers. It's no more detail than you can get through a pair of a binoculars, just a little taste of what's to come.

ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter cruise image of Mars

ESA / Roscosmos / ExoMars / CaSSIS / UniBE

ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter cruise image of Mars
The ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter acquired its first image of Mars on June 13, 2016 as part of its extensive instrument commissioning en route to the Red Planet. The line-of-sight distance to Mars on was 41 million kilometers, giving an image resolution of 460 km/pixel. The planet is roughly 34 arcseconds in diameter at this distance. The Tharsis region of Mars, home to the planet’s largest volcanoes, faces the spacecraft in this view.

The original photo had only about 15 pixels across Mars' disk; it's been enlarged here. I couldn't resist playing with the photo a little, reducing it to its original resolution and, because why not, coloring it in a Mars color.

Cruise image of Mars by ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (colorized)

ESA / Roscosmos / ExoMars / CaSSIS / UniBE / Emily Lakdawalla

Cruise image of Mars by ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (colorized)
ExoMars captured its first image of Mars on June 13, 2016. This version of the image has been colorized a Mars color and given more space to emphasize the distance remaining, about 41 million kilometers.

ExoMars will enter orbit on October 19. A major trajectory correction maneuver is planned for July 28. Go ExoMars!

Read more: mission status, ExoMars TGO, Mars

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Emily Lakdawalla

Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist for The Planetary Society
Read more articles by Emily Lakdawalla

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