Casual Friday — Astronaut's eye view of Mars

Courtesy of ESA’s Mars Express orbiter, a movie showing Mars during a full orbit:

For non-flash devices, here’s the direct link. From the ESA press release:

Last month, mission controllers commanded the Visual Monitoring Camera (VMC) to acquire an image of Mars every minute during one complete, 7-hour orbit. The VMC is a low-resolution, non-scientific digital camera originally used only to confirm separation of the Mars Express lander in 2003.

The resulting still images have been combined to create a unique video as Mars Express loops between its greatest height above the surface, 10 527 km, to its lowest, at just 358 km, and back again. This is the first such video ever generated from a spacecraft orbiting Mars.

The images used to generate the video, 600 in total, were acquired during the 8194th orbit on 27 May 2010 between 02:00 and 09:00 UTC (03:00-10:00 CEST) and were transmitted to Earth a few hours later via ESA’s 35 m-diameter New Norcia deep space antenna in Australia.

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