Emily LakdawallaJan 31, 2013

One of my favorite space images of all time: Rosetta was here

A conversation on Twitter today reminded me of this photo, which is one of my all-time favorite space images: the view from Rosetta during its Mars flyby. I was astonished to discover that it hadn't made the transition to our redesigned website, so I'm fixing that. It's just like looking out an airplane window...except that what's outside the window is Mars. I was floored by it the first time I saw it, and you know what? It's still just as amazing.

Rosetta was here
Rosetta was here This amazing view was captured by the CIVA camera on Rosetta's Philae lander just four minutes before its closest approach to Mars on Feb. 25, 2007. The spacecraft was only 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) above the planet. Part of the spacecraft bus fills the view on the left side, and one of the long solar panels stretches out across the center. In the background is the globe of Mars, looking down on Cydonia mensae. The original photo was black-and-white; this version is colorized.Image: CIVA / Philae / ESA Rosetta

The data for this image has not yet made it to ESA's Planetary Science Archive, which is a pity. I don't know if there were any others taken by Philae during the encounter. Rosetta took plenty of its own amazing photos during the encounter, catching not only Mars but also Phobos and even Jupiter; I had a lot of fun playing with those.

There's something magical about seeing pictures of hardware on other planets. I have a special keyword for pictures like that in our image library.

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