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CubeSat Photo of Mars is First by Tiny Spacecraft

image of mars
An image of Mars taken by a CubeSat, a briefcase-sized spacecraft, (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

By    |   Tuesday, 23 October 2018 12:23 PM

A CubeSat photo of Mars taken this month is the first such image to be captured by one of two briefcase-sized spacecrafts NASA launched to the red planet earlier this year, the space agency reported this week.

The two aircrafts are officially called MarCO-A and MarCO-B, which stands for Mars Cube One, and were launched into space aboard a stationary lander called InSight in May.

According to NASA, CubeSats are a class of spacecraft that are designed according to a standardized small size and modular use of off-the-shelf technologies.

Dozens have been launched into Earth’s orbit, but scientists wanted to see if they could successfully send the twin CubeSats, built by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, to Mars.

On Oct. 3, MarCO-B snapped the photo of the planet from a distance of roughly 8 million miles with a wide-angle camera.

"We've been waiting six months to get to Mars," said Cody Colley, MarCO's mission manager at JPL. "The cruise phase of the mission is always difficult, so you take all the small wins when they come. Finally seeing the planet is definitely a big win for the team."

The MarCO mission hopes to take more photos in the next few months, before InSight’s attempted landing on Mars on Nov. 26, which is highlighted in a video posted by NASA.

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A NASA CubeSat snapped a photo of Mars, the first such image by one of two briefcase-sized spacecrafts en route to Mars.
cubesat, mars, first, photo
Tuesday, 23 October 2018 12:23 PM
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