Red Planet Photography: Photos from Mars

Ever since the first Mars rover touched down and began sending digital photos back to Earth, many people around the planet have been amazed by the views. Below is a look at some of the more interesting and noteworthy photos taken from planet Mars. There are literally thousands upon thousands of photos now available, but we thought these all showed something a little special.


The above series of three photos shows the larger of Mars’ two moons, Phobos, passing in front of the sun on Aug. 20, 2013. The photos were taken about three seconds apart, which is important to understand how fast the eclipse happened.

“This event occurred near noon at Curiosity’s location, which put Phobos at its closest point to the rover, appearing larger against the sun than it would at other times of day,” Mark Lemmon of Texas A&M University, a co-investigator for Curiosity’s Mastcam instrument, said in a statement. “This is the closest to a total eclipse of the sun that you can have from Mars.”


The above photo is a much smaller version of a mosaic from NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity that contains 1.3 billion pixels in the full-resolution version. The photo shows Curiosity at the “Rocknest” site. This is where the rover scooped up samples of dust and sand. You can check out the full size version of this image here.

“It gives a sense of place and really shows off the cameras’ capabilities,” Bob Deen, of the Multi-Mission Image Processing Laboratory at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., said in a statement. “You can see the context and also zoom in to see very fine details.”


In this cool photo you get to see some of the actual rover. An interesting thing to note is that the wheels of the rover spell out JPL in morse code as it moves across the Martian landscape. Only some of the photos being sent back actually show the rover in the picture, making this one rare.


Interacting with rocks? You bet. The gray area in the center of the martian rock is where Mars rover Curiosity used its Dust Removal Tool on a rock target called “Wernecke.” Image released March 18, 2013.


Three different versions of the same image taken by the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity show some of the different choices that scientists have when taking photos. Image released March 18, 2013.


Check out this bluish-black rock with white ‘crystals’ that was found on Mars. The photo was taken during the 27th Martian day, or sol, of the rover’s work on Mars (Sept. 2, 2012 in Earth time).

Author Info

Steven wanted to buy a photo booth online and ended up spending four hours straight looking at the amazing photos of Mars that the rovers have taken. He thought it would be nice to share some of the better ones with people who don’t have as much free time as him!

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