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NASA images of Mars machines from above show off orbiter's amazing eyes

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter catches sight of the Curiosity rover and InSight lander going about their business.

This GIF of MRO images shows the Curiosity rover in two different locations on Mars.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has eyes like a hawk, able to peer down and make out relatively small objects on the surface of the Red Planet. Fresh images of the Curiosity rover and the InSight lander show off the MRO's keen visual skills.  

MRO snapped Curiosity making tracks across Mars. A GIF shows the rover in two different spots, having traveled 1,106 feet (337 meters) across an area known as the clay-bearing unit. The GIF highlights the rover with a circle and also points out the faint wheel tracks.

The rover took this stroll between May 21 and July 20. Curiosity has been busy drilling into the ground in the Gale Crater to learn more about the history of water on Mars and to search for signs of organic compounds. 

The Hirise camera on the MRO got its best look yet at the InSight lander on Sept. 23.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

The new InSight lander image comes from Sept. 23. MRO's HiRise camera took a gander at the lander in December 2018, but this new look is crisper and cleaner thanks to less dust floating in the air and better lighting. 

Take a close look at this picture and you can even make out the lander's twin solar arrays.

InSight doesn't roll around like Curiosity. Its science mission involves listening for marsquakes and sending a heat probe down into the ground. That heat probe, known as the "mole," got stuck shortly after deployment. A recent effort to use the lander's arm to help the mole get a grip on the soil seems to be helping.

MRO has been in residence around the Red Planet since 2006. The HiRise camera is responsible for sending us all sorts of spectacular Mars views. It's also busy scoping out potential future landing sites for SpaceX's Starship.

The InSight lander is bigger than a typical full-size car, while Curiosity is smaller, more like a dainty hatchback. They're still tiny compared with the landscape of Mars. That makes these latest MRO images all the more impressive.