Mars Image of the Week
Since NASA launched the 2001 Mars Odyssey Orbiter to the Red Planet almost 22 years ago, the spacecraft has looped around Mars more than 94,000 times. That’s about the equivalent of 1.37 billion miles (2.21 billion kilometers), a distance that has required extremely careful management of the spacecraft’s fuel supply. This feat is all the more impressive given that Odyssey has no fuel gauge; engineers have had to rely on math instead.
- Flight: 48
- Flight date: No earlier than 03/18/2023
- Horizontal flight distance: 1,271.7 feet (387.6 meters)
- Flight time: 142.36 seconds
- Flight altitude: 40 feet (12 meters)
- Heading: Northwest
- Flight speed: 10.4 mph (4.65 meters per second)
- Goal of flight: Reposition of the helicopter and image science targets along the way
Martian sunsets are uniquely moody, but NASA’s Curiosity rover captured one last month that stands out. As the Sun descended over the horizon on Feb. 2, rays of light illuminated a bank of clouds. These “sun rays” are also known as crepuscular rays, from the Latin word for “twilight.” It was the first time sun rays have been so clearly viewed on Mars.
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