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Video: What Mars Looks Like From Orbit

NASA provides a view of Mars as if astronauts in the International Space Station were orbiting that planet.

Dan Carney

December 19, 2023

NASA’s Mars Odyssey orbiter captured the first-ever views of Mars that showcase the curving horizon and layers of atmosphere, similar to what an astronaut sees of Earth from the International Space Station.

While there are no astronauts yet at Mars, this view gives us a sense of what they might see: The series of panoramic images was taken from an altitude of about 250 miles (400 kilometers), the same altitude at which the space station flies above Earth. These new images, which capture gauzy layers of clouds and dust, will help scientists better understand the Martian atmosphere.

In this Mars Report, learn how engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Lockheed Martin Space, which built Odyssey, had to maneuver the spacecraft to capture these views. Odyssey Deputy Project Scientist Laura Kerber also breaks down the significance of the new images. The 2001 Mars Odyssey mission is NASA’s longest operating spacecraft at Mars, marking 22 years in orbit in October 2023. For more information on Odyssey, go to: https://science.nasa.gov/mission/odyssey

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