Mars landscape

Above: A landscape photo made on the planet Mars. Credit: Curiosity.

Mars Landscapes

Landscape photos made by the Mars Rover robot photographers are the most technologically advanced and audacious photos ever made--the only real competition are photos of the human body made by MRI scanning, or perhaps some of the images coming out of CERN (take your pick). The first requirement in order for these landscape pictures to be made is the necessity to launch a space rocket and then successfully land it--with the robot imaging vehicle on-board--on another planet: Mars, our next nearest neighbour planet--about 30 million miles away. The photos created are not "other worldly" but actually depict literally another world.

There have been three Rovers operational so far: Spirit (2004-10); Opportunity (2004-present); and Curiosity (2012-present). These three automated robotic vehicles have taken images that one can gaze at in wonder for so long. For me, these robot machines are great photographers, whose images are far more compelling than those taken by many of the canonical names of Earth landscape photography--Ansel Adams, Michael Kenna, Salgado, etc. Richard Misrach's photos of Earth are works of genius that I will never be tired of looking at with inquisitiveness and enjoyment, but with these excepted I would rate the three Rovers as the greatest landscape photographers of all time ("They're not on Earth; they're not even human.")

It is interesting to note that the machine operators at Mission Command controlling the Rovers consider the robots to be feminine--"she will be active again at 06:00," etc.

(7 March 2018)