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First-Ever Snapshot Released of Mother Earth from Mars
May 22, 2003

Earth and the Moon (in background), seen from Mars
Earth and the Moon (in background), seen from Mars. Image taken by NASA's Mars Global Surveyor. links box

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Have you ever wondered what you would see if you were on Mars looking at Earth through a small telescope? Now you can find out, thanks to a unique view of our world recently captured by NASA's Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft currently orbiting the red planet.

This first-ever image of its kind not only shows Mother Earth as a tiny alien world in the vast darkness of space, but also includes a view of the giant planet Jupiter and some of its larger moons. The camera aboard Mars Global Surveyor photographed both planets in an alignment, as seen in the evening sky of Mars, at 6 a.m. Pacific Time (9 a.m. EDT) on May 8, 2003.

"From our Mars orbital-camera perspective, we've spent the last six-and-a-half years staring at Mars right in front of us," said Dr. Michael Malin, president and chief scientist of Malin Space Science Systems, of San Diego, who operates the camera aboard Mars Global Surveyor. "Taking this picture allowed us to look up from that work of exploring Mars and take in a more panoramic view. This image gives us a new perspective on that neighborhood, one in which we can see our own planet as one among many."

The image is available on the Internet at:


The image of Earth actually shows our home as a planetary disc, in a "half-Earth" phase. The image has been specially processed to allow both Earth and the much darker Moon to be visible together. The bright area at the top of the image of Earth is cloud cover over central and eastern North America. Below that, a darker area includes Central America and the Gulf of Mexico. The bright feature near the center-right of the crescent Earth consists of clouds over northern South America.

The image also shows the Earth-facing hemisphere of the Moon, since the Moon was on the far side of Earth as viewed from Mars. The slightly lighter tone of the lower portion of the image of the Moon results from the large and conspicuous ray system associated with the crater Tycho.

The image also shows Jupiter and three of its four Galilean moons: Callisto, Ganymede, and Europa. At the time, Jupiter's giant red spot had rotated out of view, and, the other so-called Galilean satellite, Io, was behind Jupiter as seen from Mars. This image has been specially processed to show both Jupiter and its satellites, since Jupiter was much brighter than the three satellites.

Mars Global Surveyor, one of the most successful missions to Mars ever undertaken, has been orbiting the red planet since September 1997. The mission has examined the entire martian surface and provided a wealth of information, including some stunning high-resolution imagery, about the planet's atmosphere and interior.

Evaluation of landing sites for NASA's two Mars Exploration Rover missions and the British Beagle 2 lander mission has relied heavily on mineral mapping, detailed imagery and topographic measurements by Mars Global Surveyor. NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers and the European Space Agency's Mars Express mission, which carries the Beagle 2 mission, are due to launch this summer and arrive at Mars in late December 2003 and January 2004.

More information about Mars Global Surveyor is available at

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., manages Mars Global Surveyor for NASA's Office of Space Science in Washington, D.C. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. JPL's industrial partner is Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, which developed and operates the spacecraft. Malin Space Science Systems and the California Institute of Technology built the Mars Orbiter Camera, and Malin Space Science Systems operates the camera from its facilities in San Diego, Calif.



Gulf War 1991 by David Turnley, Detroit Free Press

"One highly emotional picture that did get through military censors was taken by Detroit Free Press photographer David Turnley. Turnley was riding with the 5th MASH medical unit inside Iraq. A fierce firefight had recently erupted between Saddam Hussein's Republican Guard and the 24th Mechanized Infantry Division. Turnley's helicopter filled with medical personnel and equipment touched down about 100 yards from a frantic scene. An American military vehicle had just taken a direct hit. Soldiers on the ground were upset as they said it had mistakenly been struck by a U.S. tank. The wounded were quickly retrieved from the vehicle and carried to the helicopter. Sgt. Ken Kozakiewicz, suffering from a fractured hand, slumped into the helicopter. The body of the driver of Kozakiewicz's vehicle was placed on the floor of the helicopter inside a zippered bag. A medical staff member, perhaps thoughtlessly, handed the dead driver's identification card to Kozakiewicz. Turnley, sitting across from the injured soldier, recorded the emotional moment with his camera when Kozakiewicz realized that his friend was killed by the blast. Later at the hospital, Turnley asked the soldiers their names. He also asked if they would mind if the pictures were published. They all told him to get the images published. The rules of combat enforced by the military required that Turnley give his film to military officials for approval for publication. A day after the incident, Turnley learned that his editors had not yet received his negatives from the Defense Department officials. Military officials insisted that they were holding on to the film because the images were of a sensitive nature. They also said that they were concerned about whether the dead soldier's family had been informed of his death. Because of Turnley's argument that the family must have been informed by then, the officials released his film. His photographs were eventually published in Detroit and throughout the world. The picture of Kozakiewicz crying over the loss of his friend was called the "Picture of the War" on the cover of Parade magazine. Several months after the war, Turnley spoke to Kozakiewicz's father, who had been in one of the first American military units in Vietnam. Reacting to the censorship of images by military officials, David Kozakiewicz explained that the military was "trying to make us think this is antiseptic. But this is war. Where is the blood and the reality of what is happening over there? Finally we have a picture of what really happens in war." For David Kozakiewicz, showing his son grieving over the death of a fellow fighter gave added meaning to the soldier's death. "

(quoted from Media Ethics Issues and Cases, 2nd ed. edited by Philip Patterson and Lee Wilkins, Madison, WI: WCB Brown & Benchmark, 1994, pp. 212-215, reproduced at Military Censorship of Photographs by Paul Lester)




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