Watching a sunset on Earth can be a dazzling and beautiful natural wonder. But what about sunsets on other worlds?
Situated over 50 percent further away from the sun than Earth, there's one planet that we've also had the fortune to see the sun drop below the horizon while standing on the surface -- Mars. However, we have yet to experience this Martian perspective with our
eyes; instead we depend on images beamed to Earth after being witnessed by robotic lenses and CCDs from NASA's landers and rovers.
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Our first robotic views of a Martian sunset came from NASA's Viking Program, which set two landers down on the Martian surface in 1976. Viking 1 operated until 1980, whereas Viking 2 survived until 1982. In this observation by Viking 1 across the mission's landing site of Chryse Planitia, one of the lander's many sunsets was imaged 30 Martian days (sols) after touch down. The banding in the sky "is an artifact produced by the incremental brightness levels of the camera,"
according to NASA