Mars Movie: I’m Dreaming of a Blue Sunset

December 23, 2010

The sun descends to the Martian horizon and sets in this 30-second movie simulation by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory California Institute of Technology, using images from the panoramic camera (Pancam) on NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity.

“These visualizations of an alien sunset show what it must have looked like for Opportunity, in a way we rarely get to see, with motion,” said rover science team member Mark Lemmon of Texas A&M University, College Station. Dust particles make the Martian sky appear reddish and create a bluish glow around the sun.

The sunset movie, combining exposures taken Nov. 4 and Nov. 5, 2010, through different camera filters, accelerates about 17 minutes of sunset into a 30-second simulation.