NASA satellite snaps adorable Earth portrait on way to Mars

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NASA satellite snaps adorable Earth portrait on way to Mars‘CNETNASA sending a tiny robot helicopter to Mars‘Press HeraldTiny NASA satellite bound for Mars snaps photo of Earth from thousands of miles away‘Mashable

The adventurous twin spacecraft set a new record for CubeSats on May 8 when they hit a distance of 621,371 miles (1 million kilometers) from Earth.

The two CubeSats, known together as Mars Cube One (MarCO-A and MarCO-B), are the first of their kind to venture into deep space. They are trailing along after Insight on their very own mission to test their design against the rigors of traveling all the way to the red planet. If the mission goes as planned, they’ll help send back information about InSight’s descent and landing on Mars.’

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Quite a lot has been going on:

NASA sending a tiny robot helicopter to Mars

In five decades of exploring Mars, NASA has sent orbiters, landers and rovers to explore Earth’s neighbor. But the space agency’s next mission will be the first to send a tiny robotic helicopter to another planet.

It took four years of testing and redesign to create a helicopter capable of operating on the Red Planet. Mars’s atmosphere is so thin that hovering just 10 feet above the surface is the equivalent of soaring 100,000 feet above Earth.

The altitude record for helicopters on Earth is 40,000 feet; above that, the air isn’t dense enough to hold copters aloft.

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  • Publisher: Press Herald
  • Date: 2018-05-15T21:44:23-04:00
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Tiny NASA satellite bound for Mars snaps photo of Earth from thousands of miles away

On May 5, NASA launched two, tiny, briefcase-sized satellites (called cubesats) to Mars, but at least one of them still has an eye for Earth. One of the Mars Cube One (MarCO) cubesats, nicknamed Wall-E, snapped a photo of Earth from more than half a million miles away.

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NASA scientists weren’t doing this for sport, but to see if the cubesat’s antenna had unfolded ‘ and worked.’

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NASA wants to see if these small satellites can relay information from the lander ‘ a car-sized spacecraft that will study Mars’ geology ‘ back to Earth as the probe lands on the Martian surface.

NASA satellite snaps adorable Earth portrait on way to Mars

NASA’s Mars Insight mission soaked up all the glory on launch day on May 5, but the lander had a couple of less-well-known companions. The space agency also launched two CubeSats, briefcase-size mini-satellites. One of them sent back a charmingly dainty view of our home planet.’

The MarCO-B CubeSat, known by the cute nickname “Wall-E,” snapped a photo on May 9 as proof it was able to properly unfold its high-gain antenna, which it’ll need to communicate from Mars. That photo also includes Earth as a small light-blue dot and the moon as an even fainter point.’