Imagination can take us anywhere. You just have to close your eyes, and let your mind go to whatever place you’d like, may it be real or not. Sometimes, because we have the power and will to make certain dreams come true, we finally get to those places that first seemed out of our reach. A bit more than 40 years ago, because a few men dreamt that someday we would go there, a few others finally walked on the surface of the Earth’s companion, the Moon.
Since I wasn’t born back then, I can only imagine the amazement people felt when they were watching Armstrong on their TV sets, or listen to their stories when they recall the event. But even today, these images haven’t lost their strength, their power to astonish.
In the near future, other astronauts will probably walk on the surface of another planet, Mars. Of course, this will be the privilege of a few selected ones, but we are lucky enough to be able to have a glimpse of what these men will see.
Let’s take a walk… on Mars.
You can double-click and drag the image below to browse a 360° panoramic view of Mars (© NASA/JPL). It was shot on the Husband Hill summit, by the rover Spirit in December 2005. If you look down, you can even see the rover itself! As you browse the scenery, you will notice that the landscape is pretty barren, with nothing more to see than red rocks, sand dunes and hills, spreading to the horizon.
For a bigger view, you can also click here.
Anyone looking at the night sky has probably already seen Mars, but is the Earth visible in Mars’? Once again, the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit gives us an idea of what it looks like, with this amazing picture taken one hour before sunrise on the 63rd martian day, or sol, of its mission:
The Earth is visible, in the middle of the picture, as a pale dot in the sky (click the picture to enlarge).
To end our short virtual journey on the Martian ground, what better way than to look at a wonderful sunset? As you will see in the video below recorded by Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity, as Mars is much further away from the Sun than Earth, our star appears much smaller. Dust particles make the Martian sky appear reddish and create a bluish glow around the sun.