NASA spacecraft captures spectacular image of Earth, the moon from Mars
HiRISE spacecraft snapped photo 205 million kilometres from Earth
NASA has released a breathtaking image of Earth and the moon taken from a spacecraft in orbit around Mars from 205 million kilometres away.
The image is a composite of four sets of images taken on Nov. 20, 2016 by NASA's High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) spacecraft which has been in orbit around Mars since 2006.
The photograph shows Australia near the centre, with Antarctica as a bright white spot in the bottom left.
In order to acquire the image, the satellite combined data from the red and blue-green spectrum (the camera can also image in the infrared) and processed them as red, green, and blue.
The spacecraft also had to take two separate exposures: one for the moon and one for Earth, as they vary in brightness.
The spacecraft has been taking high-resolution images of Mars from an altitude that varies from 200 to 400 kilometres. The images are so detailed that they can show features just one to two-and-a-half metres across.
HiRISE took the image as part of its calibration process.