The Earth and Moon from Mars


Stunning and beautiful.

Via Boing Boing.

NEXT: Meanwhile, in Zimbabwe

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  1. What a pretty picture! Easily worth the hundreds of billions of dollars it took to get it.

  2. Well P, if the government MUST take money from me, I’d rather have it go to cool stuff like robots on mars than killing people in foreign countries or ethanol subsidies.

  3. I saw this on reddit and I don’t get why this picture’s so amazing. Because the Earth is actually small compared to the rest of the universe? Any idiot knows that. What’s the big deal?

  4. Propaganda from the “earth is round” liars.

  5. No Name Guy- I appreciate that argument, and I agree with it, as far as it goes.

    But I would prefer to keep my little piece of the tab, and use it in for *I* deem to be the highest marginal utility. Even if that means more beer.

  6. As much as I appreciate this type of stuff, I still haven’t bought into it as being a legitimate function of government. I’m sure the NASA suckups will point out all the wonderful things that NASA research has introduced to everyday society, but I’m entirely unconvinced that these discoveries would not have occurred in the absence of government spending.

    But it is a way cool picture.

  7. hmmm- should be:

    …use it for what *I* deem…

  8. from Mars?

    Wouldn’t the moon appear to be nothing but a speck from Mars? Wouldn’t Earth be only a speck about as bright as Venus is for us?

    That’s more likely to be “The moon and earth from high earth orbit.”

  9. P Brooks I understand, and if almost all taxes were abolished tomorrow except those necessary for police, national defense, and roads, I’d gladly donate a piece of the money I save to space exploration (whether by the govt or private enterprise).

    I think millions of others would, too.

  10. Better this than social security.

    The space program might eventually give me a Tang or Teflon coating or an ovation guitar and, as stated above, is not killing innocents.

    Social security gives me squat except keeping the ancient alive to vote themselves more give aways.

  11. is not killing innocents.

    Well, not many. Just because they were “participants” doesnt make them “not innocent”.

  12. I’m a big fan of Cory Doctorow, who posted this at Boing Boing.

    As much as I appreciate this type of stuff, I still haven’t bought into it as being a legitimate function of government.

    I could see it being valuable until 1989, as I’d rather have a wasteful technology battle than a full-on nuclear war.

    This time has past, however…

  13. Maybe the perfect title for the photo should have been “The Earth and its Moon as seen through a telescope on Mars.” Mars has two tiny little moons of its own, which are dwarfed by our own mighty moon. (We are so cool!)

  14. Great picture, though there’s an older one from Voyager that’s made the rounds (taken between 5 and 10 million miles away).

    Here’s one of the Earth from Saturn.

  15. “Not killing innocents”? Ever heard of opportunity cost?

    I personally would like to thank all the innocents who died horrible deaths from cancer and other diseases because we spent our money on “stunning and beautiful” rather than on research and development.

    If you’re going to be unlibertarian and champion spending taxpayer money on something that is simply not a public good, then at least try not be hopelessly myopic (dare I say selfish?) about it. There are objectively bigger bangs for the taxpayer buck than this.

  16. Wouldn’t the moon appear to be nothing but a speck from Mars?

    The picture was taken using the equivalent of a telescope.

  17. I’d prefer that we do this privately, but it’s a minor portion of all the things our government spends our money on that it shouldn’t. However, claims that space exploration isn’t important show an incredibly short-sighted view, in my opinion.

  18. Wow. I’m just glad I don’t live on the dark side of the earth.

  19. Akin to the seminal Earth rise photos from Apollo 8 in 1968 – these images made the hair stand up on the back of my neck.

    Earth Rise, was one of those ‘changed forever’ pictures. Once you’ve seen it, it makes an impression you never forget. This pic puts Earth and Moon in the same frame, but it’s not nearly as potent.

  20. Warren,

    Yeah, but I bet it looks better in person. Goddangit.

  21. “The picture was taken using the equivalent of a telescope.”

    Typical government work.

    Let’s go all the way to the grand canyon to use a telescope to take a picture we could have taken a couple of blocks away from the house.

  22. I’ve posted this in another NASA thread, but it bears repeating: NASA / JPL’s Near Earth Asteroid Tracking program is one that could literally save the human race… and that’s not global-warming style hyperbole. the presence of multiple large asteroid craters on Earth shows the inevitibility of another impact in the future.

    also to the “no death to innocents for NASA” crowd: please refresh yourselves with the history of that agency. Especially research Wernher von Braun and the Dora camp. Without them, the US wouldn’t have won the Space Race.

  23. Great picture.

    Asimov once argued that it was unfortunate that neither Mars nor Venus had a comparably large moon. It would have destroyed Ptolemy’s Earth-centered universe idea 1500 years earlier.

  24. I think we all know NASA isn’t a legitimate function of government, but it’s one of those things that’s hard to say ‘no’ to.

    And aside from that, we’re a bunch of losers for turning a thread about a cool picture into more political arguing.

  25. oso,

    I just learned about a new theory that a comet exploded over North America 13,000 years ago, killing lots of people and megafauna. I don’t think this is proven or accepted, yet, but there is some evidence supporting the theory. This would be a bad thing today. As would a repeat of Tungusta.

  26. The Mars Phoenix Lander was twittering about that pic earlier. It’s also got a post about it’s own pic of Earth in the Mars sky.

    Commence jokes about uptime of lander 15 light-minutes away being higher than uptime of twitter.

  27. ProGLib,

    Is that the one that’s supposed to have created the Carolina Bays?

  28. the presence of multiple large asteroid craters on Earth shows the inevitibility of another impact in the future.

    And we would do what, exactly, to prevent it?

  29. lunchstealer,

    I think that’s a case of converging theories. The cometary explanation of the Carolina Bays long predates the so-called Clovis comet theory, which only appeared last year. I’d a little dubious about such a massive and recent event not having more widespread evidence, but there are some anomalies that seem better explained by the cometary theory. Distressing if true.


    There are a number of suggestions (and far better sources than Wikipedia–I’m just being lazy) about how to deflect an oncoming asteroid or comet. All of which work far, far better if we attempt the deflection earlier rather than later. If we sit and wait, there’s a 100% chance that some number of people will be killed at some point in the future.

  30. “And we would do what, exactly, to prevent it?”

    Dude, don’t you watch Michael Bay/Jerry Bruckheimer films?

  31. Jaybird

    The image was taken by the HiRISE sensor on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. It takes images like this.

    So to recap: That image couldn’t have been taken from high earth orbit, because an orbit high enough to take that image would require so much energy to achieve as to be practically useless. More useless than the low Mars orbit it was actually taken from. The image wasn’t the primary purpose of the sensor which took it. Rather, it was a target of opportunity taken during a break in normal operations, which obtain images that could not be acquired any other way.

    There are plenty of legit criticisms of NASA, but you’re bringin’ weak game here.

  32. If we sit and wait, there’s a 100% chance that some number of people will be killed at some point in the future.

    Ummm, okay, because otherwise…..

  33. KipEsquire,

    Eureka! I found the cure for cancer!

    Hey what’s that bright light in the sk…

  34. P Brooks,

    Possibly a very large number of people. If North America really was depopulated 13,000 years ago, it would be nice to avoid a repeat. . .here or elsewhere.

  35. Space is the new ocean, and I think it does make sense for this nation to figure out how to sail on it.

    Space is where an ever-increasing piece of the action in human affairs will be for the forseeable future; having a capability in space that has no peer is libertarian in the sense that it is strategically necessary like common defense. If we do not have a (physical)say in what goes on above us, we do not control our destiny and our own sovereignty among nations is diluted.

    That being said, NASA is a disaster of a program. Rather than push the edge, it tries to maintain itself as a massive industrial complex of jobs programs and academics in enough critical congressional districts to gurantee political viability. The current Ares/Orion rocket machines slated to replace the shuttle seem contrived expressly to achieve political survivability first and any kind of meangingful capability in space almost as an afterthought.

    The next several years are going to be critical in the evolution of the human capability in space. With Ares/Orion going through the usual (for the gov, anyways) delays and cost overuns to the tune of several billion dollars, NASA has had a $500 million dollar contract called “COTS.” The idea is a cheap vehicle for basic logistics to the space station to fill the “gap” on the calendar between the shuttle retiring and Ares going on-line. It looks however that some competitors will field a vehicle that essentially does what Ares is supposed to do, at a relative fraction of the cost and schedule. This will force NASA to choose one of two things:

    One: Be rational and ditch the Ares/Orion corporate welfare rocket, and turn into a purchaser of launch services instead oa developer and operator.

    Two: NASA can utilize its bureaucratic hook-ups to kill off private space flight with any litany of scaremongering (narco-terrorist-pornographer-on-line pokerplaying Jesus-hating Muhammad loving homos might get ICBM’S off the shelf! They need to be “regulated” for public safety!).

    If NASA ends up going the route of the former, NASA will be irrelevant to the explosion of space travel and industry in the same sense DARPA wasn’t a big player in the internet revolution despite inventing it in a lab.

    If NASA goes the other way, we will have our typical bloated space-mess, and NASA will become irrelevant anyways competing with the big Asian government space operations now coming on-line, and gaining resources and capabilities every year as NASA’s own effective buying power and technical lead diminishes relative to them. With that, and a regulatory choke-hold on private rocket machines in the USA, the USA will become an irrelevant bit-player in space, endlessly making documentaries about the halcyon days of Apollo…just like we do now! Wheee!

  36. It’s kinda cool to see just how far away the Moon really is. It kind of seems closer when you just look at it. Also makes the whole Apollo journeys seem just a little bit lonelier.

  37. Fuck! That goddamned Frisbee has been on my roof the whole time.

  38. Bitchen beautiful pic!

    Wouldn’t the moon appear to be nothing but a speck from Mars?

    “The picture was taken using the equivalent of a telescope.”

    I wasn’t sure cuz although we can’t eee Phobos and Deimos, the Martian satalites (moons) with unaided vision, they are really small compared to Earth’s moon. Also, they orbit quite close to Mars. Phobos has an orbit that is only about 3 times as large as Mars. For Deimos the distance is about 7 times the radius of Mars. In comparison, the Earth’s Moon orbits at a distance that is around 60 times the radius of the Earth.

    And both of em are very black. All of this is probably why they were not found until 1877 even though astronomers had searched.

  39. Here’s a larger version of the photo.

    Even more bitchen beautiful! Thanks, Brian.

  40. The B52s do solar system astronomy!

  41. Why, the earth isn’t round–it’s kind of crescent-shaped!


  42. If I see any cactus in those Mars photos I might start getting suspicious.

  43. Could be Martian cactus, you know.

  44. That’s a beaut, but there’s so much color correction, enhancement and refinining in pics like these that I’m never really sure what I’m seeing. For my money, this grainy spec taken from the Opportunity pancam is even more haunting, in part because it looks remarkably like what Mars looks like when you go out at night and see it in the sky.

    Also, you may fairly object to the use of taxpayer money for stuff like this, but “hundreds of billions of dollars” is a pan-galactic exaggeration. NASA’s whole budget is only $17 billion a year, and all the unmanned Mars stuff is a tiny fraction of the total. Spirit and Opportunity were done for less than $1 billion, IIRC.

  45. Tim’s point seems well taken. But there is still a more ethical and productive way to fund space exploration. The most expensive tools of astronomical exploration used to be the huge telescopes, and they were enthusiastically funded with non-government money. Many people love space exploration and it seems that their numbers and enthusiasm would afford many commercial and charity avenues for the financing of space exploration. In addition to the private satellite launch companies in operation, there are hundreds of organizations for astronomy/space enthusiasts.

    If space exploration were privatized there would be a motivation for those doing it to both educate the lay community about it as well as to cater to their scientific interests in order to generate donor support from them. This dynamic would tend to more actively involve the general public in the enterprise then they are with the taxpayer funded space program.

    The political power wielded by those who receive tax dollars for the government space program could well prove a formidable obstacle to eliminating it. Perhaps a way to over come this obstacle and transition into private space exploration would be to give tax credits to those make donations to non-government space exploration during the transition period.

    When the machinations of free enterprise motivate space exploration, I believe that it will yield surprising and even unimaginable progress. Just look at the results of the forays of capitalism into the other frontiers of human kind.

  46. This thread is a perfect example of why Libertarians are perceived as groaning nihilists that few people will ever support. With such negativity routinely being cast towards anything that doesn’t involve a tax break, it’s no wonder that the LP party is nothing more than novelty act.

    The detachment is even more pronounced when some people actually attempt to claim that such missions would have absolutely happened without government involvement.

    Apparently, the jokes on you.

    What a bunch of miserable fucks.

  47. Also, all other endeavors must be halted until we find a cure for cancer.

  48. A $billion here, a $billion there…

  49. Famous Mortimer=The King of the non-sequitur

  50. R. Barton,

    I think he was referring to a few posts claiming money spent on space should be spent on health, education, etc.

  51. StupendousMan,

    I was referring to his insipid attack on libertarians.

  52. Peter Schilling – “Major Tom”

  53. DAVID BOWIE-“MAJOR TOM Space Oddity”

  54. “Famous Mortimer=The King of the non-sequitur”

    And apparently you’re the king of the randomly placed logical fallacy label.

    Hey, as long as you act confident that you know what you’re talking about.

  55. Famous Mortime,

    It wasn’t random cuz it followed and accurately described your comment.

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