Curiosity sees Earth in the Martian twilight sky

Earth and Moon in the Martian evening sky, as seen by Curiosity. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/TAMU
Earth and Moon in the Martian evening sky, as seen by Curiosity. Click for larger version. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/TAMU

The Curiosity rover has taken its first twilight image of Earth, and even the Moon, in the darkening Martian evening sky from its location in Gale crater. The photo was released today, February 6, 2014, by NASA.

The Earth appears as a tiny bluish speck of light, but still brighter than other stars. If you zoom in and look closely, you can also see the Moon, as a fainter speck of light to the lower-right of the Earth.

The image was taken about 80 minutes after sunset on sol 529 (January 31, 2014). If you were standing on Mars, the Earth and Moon would look like two evening stars, much how Mars or Venus for example look from Earth.

As well as being a “you are here” type of photo, for Curiosity it is a you were here image; that speck so far away is the home world, where Curiosity was built and then launched from. Amazing!

Other versions of the image are available here.

This article was first published on

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Paul Scott Anderson is a freelance space writer with a life-long passion for space exploration and astronomy. He started his blog The Meridiani Journal in 2005, which is a chronicle of planetary exploration. He also publishes The Exoplanet Report e-paper. In 2011, he started writing about space on a freelance basis, and now also currently write for AmericaSpace and He has also written for Universe Today and SpaceFlight Insider, has been published in The Mars Quarterly and has done supplementary writing for the well-known iOS app Exoplanet for iPhone and iPad.

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