See A Mars Sunset That Is Literally Out Of This World

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter managed to catch a photo of a sunset on Mars.

By Britta DeVore | Updated

mars sunset
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

While airspace on Earth has been the topic of conversation over the last month, it’s a shot from our space neighbor that’s causing some “oohs” and “aahs” today. According to NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter made the rounds on what would be its 45th flight and came back with a special souvenir – a picture of a sunset. The image captured depicts the glaringly blinding sun setting behind a set of rolling mountains with tiny dunes of sand in the forefront.

While Mars may be known as the Red Planet, the sunset sucked much of the color out of the shot, casting a wide shadow over the areas on display. Like something out of Star Wars, the truly otherworldly sight is a breathtaking view of what the end of the day would have looked like for ancient life on Mars. And with Ingenuity still making its rounds around the planet’s Jezero Crater, there are plenty of more opportunities for photos like this one to make their way back to the public.

Beginning its research back in 2021, Ingenuity has been zipping itself around the vast and dry crater that’s believed to have at one time held water. Arriving aboard NASA’s Perseverance rover, Ingenuity has been staying busy flying around the planet and continuing to blow scientists’ minds with its Mars research with images like this one of the sunset. In fact, Ingenuity is doing such a great job that it was promoted to the task of Perseverance’s scout and is helping the rover in its search for proof of past life on Mars.

terraform mars

Just like the James Webb telescope has changed what’s possible in reaching the farthest stretches of the galaxy and delivering some unbelievably stunning shots of the world(s) beyond our own, Ingenuity is working away at bringing us closer to finding the secrets held by Mars. And, while a Mars sunset may not be completely mind-blowing when it comes to what scientists hope to have in store for the planet, it’s still lovely to see the little things. With its high-resolution camera that’s able to send a transmission back to Earth from anywhere between five and 20 minutes after collecting its data, the space helicopter is sure to capture a lot more where that came from.

A real do-it-yourself kind of creation, Ingenuity can take off, fly, and land on its own with those firmly planted on Earth having control over the helicopter but trusting it to get the job done with or without them. As Ingenuity scans and helps Perseverance plan its next moves, it helps shape the rover’s course by keeping an eye out for exciting geological features to investigate as well as potential hazards up ahead. With its latest photo of Mars, it seems like Ingenuity also has an eye when it comes to the beauty of a sunset. 

The shot of Mars’ sunset reminds us that whether life exists beyond Earth, we’re not completely alone. The sun rises and sets on the fourth planet from the sun just as it does here, with its rays displaying breathtaking views that completely change the landscape from day to night. With Ingenuity and Perseverance still out there doing their things, we can’t wait to see what they report back with next.