NASA releases rare photo of Earth & Moon, as seen from Mars (PHOTO)
The photo is a combination of the best Earth image and the best moon image from four sets of pictures taken on November 20, 2016, by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRise) camera onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
NASA admitted the moon was brightened significantly before compositing the image, as it is actually much darker and would be barely visible at the same brightness scale as Earth.
However, the image does reflect “the correct sizes and positions of the two bodies relative to each other”. For scale, Earth’s could fit about 30 times in the distance between it and the moon.
In the image, Earth appears in shades of green, blue and red (due to vegetation). Australia is the reddish image in the middle of Earth, Southeast Asia is the reddish area near the top, and Antarctica is the bright section down the bottom-left. The other bright spots are clouds.
HiRise and the five other instruments on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have been observing Mars since 2006.