Does any documented/official footage from another planet or from the outskirts of our solar system exist?

Scientists working on the Mars Curiosity Rover mission have compiled a large number of images to create "footage" (even though, technically, footage is precisely that - a collection of images taken within a very short time of one another which have been strung together) but for the sake of this question, this doesn't qualify as the images weren't recorded continuously - they were taken image by image.

Has there ever been any footage from the atmosphere or surface of Jupiter, for example, where Galileo (purposely) crash-landed? Or perhaps a number of the Venera spacecraft which landed on Venus and were able to transmit data for approximately 50 minutes?

I am aware that the spacecraft in my examples may not have been fitted with video capture devices, but would like to know whether anything ever has been (with, perhaps, the exception of the MCR)?

Or how about the Voyage 1 spacecraft (which has now left our solar system)? In 1990 it transmitted an image of Earth as seen from 3.7 billion miles away, which appeared as a pale blue dot; has any further footage ever been transmitted back to Earth? I understand that lots of the equipment has since been retired in order to prolong the life of Voyager 1, but am curious to know whether or not anything else ever made it back to Earth.

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    $\begingroup$ Would a video of Mars Curiosity descent do? I'm having hard time piecing together where your question is coming from, considering there's thousands of timelapse photography and even real-time video recordings available on the Internet for all kinds of various space exploration missions. Most of Voyager's systems (except telemetry) are shut down now because there's absolutely nothing of interest to record with a photo/video camera and its RTG as a source of power doesn't provide enough current any more for all its instruments. $\endgroup$
    – TildalWave
    Oct 14, 2013 at 18:55

1 Answer 1


Yes, "footage" is nothing more than pictures stringed together in time. For an example from the "outskirts" of our solar system, the New Horizons probe has captured a time-sequence of Jupiter's moon Io.

New Horizons

But this isn't the only example. NASA has lots of short clips of the Jovian system, assembled from a collection of images, which I assume will be available again after the US government shutdown is over.

The distinction of video capture devices is something I doubt would be taken seriously. Obviously manned missions are a different story, and have carried with them devices that would clearly be identified as video capture devices. Of course, manned missions have never gone anyway remotely close to the outer solar system.

The concept of our conventional notion of video capture with probes has several issues. Notably:

  • The time scale probes are interested in is much longer than we're used to. If you were to toss something on Mars, you would need sub-second scale image capture. But we don't do that.
  • Even if something interesting was happening on these time scales, probes have limited power, and in some cases rapid capture isn't going to be very viable, and it might not be very good in the cases it is viable.

Since you're looking for something intended to have rapid capture of images, the best example would probably be the Mars Curiosity EDL camera. Since the decent was a relatively rapid process, this was designed to take a "movie", at a frame rate that actually looks like a movie. You might be able to find other cases where a probe's frame rate rivals this, but this is the best example I know of. This was also a fairly large probe with a good amount of power available, and the video is still choppy by TV/youtube standards.

Other than the frame rate, I don't think there's any other meaningful distinction for classifying something as a video camera.

  • $\begingroup$ A wonderful answer; very helpful and interesting indeed. Thank you. $\endgroup$
    – SnookerFan
    Oct 14, 2013 at 14:40

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