NASA Tweets Picture of Earth Taken by Curiosity Rover

Feb 07, 2014 07:55 AM EST | Matt Mercuro (m.mercuro@autoworldnews.com)

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Curiosity

Earth can be seen along with our moon in the recently captured photo.
(Photo : NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/TAMU)

NASA tweeted a photo of Earth this week taken by its Mars Curiosity rover, the first picture of Earth ever captured by the 1-ton rover.

The last time Curiosity was on Earth was November 26, 2011, when it blasted off aboard a NASA spacecraft from Cape Canaveral, Florida, according to CNN.

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Approximately eight and a half months and 352 million miles later the rover landed on Mars with over 17 cameras and other instruments designed to help NASA learn more about the Red Planet.

The $2.6 billion project has sent a number of images back to Earth from Mars, but never before has it taken a picture of Earth itself until this week.

NASA confirmed that the photo was taken 80 minutes after Mars' sunset with Curiosity's "left eye camera" on its Mastcam, according to CNN.

The photo doesn't just show Earth, but also our moon. Both appear as tiny dots in the photo tweeted out to the world on Feb. 7.

"A human observer with normal vision, if standing on Mars, could easily see Earth and the moon as two distinct, bright 'evening stars," NASA said in a statement.


Curiosity's main concern isn't taking photographs however, as it was designed to explore Mars.

The rover has helped scientists determine that a location called Yellowknife Bay was once habitable, according to CNN.

The sunset was on day 529 of Curiosity's expedition.

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