On Friday, to celebrate the 20th birthday of ESA’s Mars Express, you’ll have the chance to get as close as it’s currently possible get to a live view from Mars. Tune in to be amongst the first to see new pictures roughly every 50 seconds as they’re beamed down directly from the Visual Monitoring Camera on board ESA’s long-lived and still highly productive martian orbiter. “This is an old camera, originally planned for engineering purposes, at a distance of almost three million kilometres from Earth – this hasn’t been tried before and to be honest, we’re not 100% certain it’ll work,” explains James Godfrey, Spacecraft Operations Manager at ESA’s mission control centre in Darmstadt, Germany. “But I’m pretty optimistic. Normally, we see images from Mars and know that they were taken days before. I’m excited to see Mars as it is now – as close to a martian ‘now’ as we can possibly get!’
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