NASA’s InSight lander used the camera on the end of its robotic arm to image this sunset on Mars on April 25, 2019. This was taken around 6:30 p.m. Mars local time.
Because it’s much farther from Mars than it is from Earth, the sun appears only about two-thirds the size that it does when viewed from our planet.
Insight snapped the photos below on April 24 and 25. In local Mars time. The shots were taken starting around 5:30 a.m., and then again starting around 6:30 p.m. As a bonus, a camera under the lander’s deck also caught clouds drifting across the Martian sky at sunset.
This is actually the second time InSight has captured these daily events, NASA said. The camera took practice shots on March 2 and 10, 2019.
Justin Maki is InSight science team co-investigator and imaging lead at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Maki said:
It’s been a tradition for Mars missions to capture sunrises and sunsets. With many of our primary imaging tasks complete, we decided to capture the sunrise and sunset as seen from another world.
The first mission to send back such images was the Viking 1 lander, which captured a sunset in August 1976. Viking 2 captured a sunrise in June 1978. Since then, both sunrises and sunsets have been recorded by other missions, including the Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity rovers.
Bottom line: Photos of sunsets and sunrises on Mars, taken by the NASA Insight lander.
Eleanor Imster has helped write and edit EarthSky since 1995. She was an integral part of the award-winning EarthSky radio series almost since it began until it ended in 2013. Today, as Lead Editor at EarthSky.org, she helps present the science and nature stories and photos you enjoy. She also serves as one of the voices of EarthSky on social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and G+. She and her husband live in Tennessee and have two grown sons.