A Closer Encounter with Mars
Taking advantage of Mars's closest approach to Earth in eight years, astronomers using the Hubble telescope have taken the space-based observatory's sharpest views yet of the Red Planet. NASA is releasing these images to commemorate the second anniversary of the Mars Pathfinder landing.
The telescope snapped these pictures between April 27 and May 6, 1999, when Mars was 54 million miles (87 million kilometers) from Earth. From this distance the telescope could see Martian features as small as 12 miles (19 kilometers) wide. The telescope obtained four images, which, together, show the entire planet. Each view depicts the planet as it completes one quarter of its daily rotation.