European Space Agency Hosts First Mars Live Stream | Cnn


At first, viewers on Earth had the ability to see Mars in near real time.

The European Space Agency has streamed historic live images directly from the Red Planet to YouTube.

The images, shared on YouTube, ESA Twitter account and with the hashtag #MarsLIVEit showed the planet in a way that has never been seen before, ESA said.

The event celebrated the 20th anniversary of the launch of the agency’s Mars Express orbiter, a mission to take three-dimensional images of the planet’s surface to view it more fully.

Normally, we see images from Mars and know they were taken days before, said James Godfrey, spacecraft operations manager at ESA’s mission control center in Darmstadt, Germany, in a statement. I’m excited to see Mars because he’s now as close to a Martian as you’ll get!

But have we never seen pictures of Mars before? Yes, but not live, ESA said.

Often data and observations of the red planet are captured when a spacecraft isn’t in direct contact with Earth, so the images are stored until they can be sent back, ESA said.

Depending on where Mars and Earth are in their orbits around the sun, messages traveling through space can take anywhere from 3 to 22 minutes.

ESA had estimated it would take about 17 minutes for the light needed to form the images to travel directly from Mars to Earth and then another minute to pass through cables and servers on the ground to start the live stream, the ESA said. agency.


ESA shared images it deemed as close to physical life as possible during an event on June 2, 2023. The images were sent to Earth with a delay of about 17 minutes, or as long as it takes for information to travel between Mars and the Earth.

Note, we’ve never tried anything like this before, so exact travel times for ground signals remain somewhat uncertain, the agency said in a statement ahead of the event.

No stars were visible in the background of the images because Mars is quite bright, noted ESA project scientist Colin Wilson.


Images from the Mars Express spacecraft were taken about once every 48 seconds, according to ESA. There was a brief outage when a ground station on Earth was unable to collect data transmitted by the spacecraft due to bad weather.

If you’re very close to it, it’s even brighter, Wilson noted, and this obscures the surrounding stars at this particular angle from which the spacecraft is taking pictures.

But, if you were on the Mars Express spacecraft, you’d be able to see a lot of the cosmos, Wilson added. And that’s actually critical to the navigation of Mars Express, he said. The spacecraft uses an onboard map and its image of the stars to orient itself in space, just as humans have navigated the oceans for centuries.


Mars appeared to move through the image frames during the live stream, as the Mars Express spacecraft moved past the planet. The back of the planet also appeared shaded because it was in Martian night, just as half of the Earth is in darkness at any given moment.

Over the course of an hour, new views of Mars were expected every 50 seconds or so, according to the agency’s statement prior to the event. However, for some time, transmissions from Mars were disrupted, ESA scientists noted, as a ground station near Madrid experienced bad weather.

Some viewers may have also noticed that the red planet didn’t appear as red as expected. Jorge Hernndez Bernal, part of the Mars Express visual tracking camera team, noted during the live stream that Mars looked as if you were capturing an image with an iPhone, not as it would be seen with the naked eye.


Ultimately, the spacecraft got too far away to continue capturing images of Mars, but ESA said it will continue to share updates on social media.

Color is a very complex topic related to the way our eyes work, he noted. And spacecraft images also undergo some processing, to remove unwanted noise or noise in the images that can also alter their appearance.

About an hour of images were sent by Mars Express before the spacecraft got too far from Mars to continue capturing the planet. Scientists noted that further updates will be shared on Chirping.

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