NASA Probe Spies Mars Rover Curiosity from Space (Photo)

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter took this image of the Curiosity rover (inset) on the surface of the Red Planet on Dec. 13, 2014. Image released Feb. 5, 2015.
NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter took this image of the Curiosity rover (inset) on the surface of the Red Planet on Dec. 13, 2014. Image released Feb. 5, 2015. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona)

Call it a Red Planet two-for-one. A spacecraft orbiting Mars snapped an amazing photo of another probe on the Martian surface.

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) spied the agency's Curiosity rover and snapped the newly released image on Dec. 13, 2014. At the time the picture was taken, Curiosity was examining the "Pahrump Hills" outcrop at the base of Mount Sharp in Gale Crater, according to NASA. The rover can be seen in the image as a grey dot inside a blue box. MRO's high Resolution Imagining Science Experiment (HiRISE) took the picture, which covers an area of approximately 360 yards (330 meters), NASA officials added.

"The bright features in the landscape are sedimentary rock and the dark areas are sand," NASA officials wrote in an image description. "The HiRISE team plans to periodically image Curiosity, as well as NASA's other active Mars rover, Opportunity, as the vehicles continue to explore Mars."

This isn't the first time MRO snapped a photo of Curiosity. The orbiter — which arrived at the Red Planet in 2006 — actually managed to take an image of the rover on its way to a successfully landed on the surface of the planet three years ago. MRO took the image as Curiosity was hanging beneath a parachute that brought it safely down to the planet's surface.

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter took this photo of the Curiosity rover on Mars on Dec. 13, 2014. Image released Feb. 5, 2015 (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona)

The orbiting spacecraft has imaged other robots on Mars as well. MRO photographed the Viking landers, which touched down on the rust-colored surface in 1976, and the probe has also imaged the Spirit rover, Opportunity's twin that beamed its last communication to Earth in 2010 before going silent.

MRO has made quite a few discoveries since arriving in orbit around Mars. The probe discovered ice and signs of water on the Red Planet and helped scientists pick out Curiosity's landing spot by beaming back images of the Martian surface.

Explore a zoomable version of the image directly through NASA:

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Miriam Kramer
Staff Writer

Miriam Kramer joined as a Staff Writer in December 2012. Since then, she has floated in weightlessness on a zero-gravity flight, felt the pull of 4-Gs in a trainer aircraft and watched rockets soar into space from Florida and Virginia. She also served as's lead space entertainment reporter, and enjoys all aspects of space news, astronomy and commercial spaceflight.  Miriam has also presented space stories during live interviews with Fox News and other TV and radio outlets. She originally hails from Knoxville, Tennessee where she and her family would take trips to dark spots on the outskirts of town to watch meteor showers every year. She loves to travel and one day hopes to see the northern lights in person. Miriam is currently a space reporter with Axios, writing the Axios Space newsletter. You can follow Miriam on Twitter.