The HiRISE camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) is specifically designed to take super high-resolution images of the surface of Mars but it also does a pretty darn good job capturing pictures of other objects too—like Jupiter and its Galilean moons, several hundred million miles away! The image above was captured in expanded color (that is, it includes wavelengths in infrared) by HiRISE on January 11, 2007, and shows the giant planet from Mars orbit.
Mars and Jupiter were at opposition at the time, only about 345 million miles apart.
The image has been sharpened from its original version using processing software, since HiRISE wasn’t actually set up to make the observation when it occurred. (I also added some black space around it for better framing—you can see the original released version here. With sharpening, HiRISE achieved a similar resolution to the Hubble Space Telescope.
For a look at what we look like to HiRISE from Mars, click here.
Launched on Aug. 12, 2005, MRO with HiRISE arrived at Mars on March 10, 2006. It’s currently in its second extended mission, studying the surface of Mars and providing orbital support for the rovers on the ground.