NASA’s InSight Lander Sees Stunning Sunrise and Sunset on Mars

In April 2019, NASA’s InSight lander used its Instrument Deployment Camera (IDC) to capture a series of Martian sunrise and sunset images.

NASA’s InSight lander used its IDC camera to record the Martian sunrise on April 24, 2019. This image was taken around 5:30 a.m. Mars local time. Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech.

NASA’s InSight lander used its IDC camera to record the Martian sunrise on April 24, 2019. This image was taken around 5:30 a.m. Mars local time. Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech.

The first mission to send back such images was NASA’s Viking 1 lander, which captured a sunset on August 21, 1976.

NASA’s Viking 2 then captured a sunrise on June 14, 1978.

Since then, both sunrises and sunsets have been recorded by NASA’s Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity rovers.

“It’s been a tradition for Mars missions to capture sunrises and sunsets,” said InSight science team co-investigator and imaging lead Dr. Justin Maki, a researcher at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

“With many of our primary imaging tasks complete, we decided to capture the sunrise and sunset as seen from another world.”

InSight used its IDC camera to image this sunset on Mars on April 25, 2019. This image was taken around 6:30 p.m. Mars local time. Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech.

InSight used its IDC camera to image this sunset on Mars on April 25, 2019. This image was taken around 6:30 p.m. Mars local time. Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech.

InSight’s IDC camera on the lander’s robotic arm snapped these photos on April 24 and 25, 2019, the 145th Martian day (sol) of the mission.

In local Mars time, the shots were taken starting around 5:30 a.m. and then again starting around 6:30 p.m.

Much farther from Mars than it is from Earth, the Sun appears only about two-thirds the size that it does when viewed from Earth.

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