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There are several answers to Could a spy satellite image another satellite? and one answer with several examples to How many spacecraft have taken a “Pale Blue Dot” type photo of the Earth from beyond cis-lunar space?

And there are many photos of one spacecraft in cis-lunar space from another taken by astronauts.

Question: Are there any photos of one spacecraft taken by another spacecraft beyond Earth orbit?

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    $\begingroup$ Are you looking for objects still in space (i.e. not on a planet, like some Mars rovers?), or any spacecraft photos from another spacecraft, wherever it may be? $\endgroup$ – BruceWayne Dec 12 '19 at 16:27
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    $\begingroup$ @BruceWayne There's a tendency to refer to historical and current landers and rovers as spacecraft; they are all by necessity designed to be space-worthy and some are even fairly active in space, and the planetary environments have a mix of space-like aspects (extreme temperature, low pressure, elevated radiation, low light levels) depending on the destination, so in general they count. However if/when vehicles are built on the surface of Mars exclusively for driving on Mars they definitely won't be considered spacecraft. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Dec 12 '19 at 21:33

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Yes, here is a picture of the Curiosity lander spacecraft taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The picture was taken about one minute prior to the landing of Curiosity.

enter image description here

Image from https://www.space.com/16946-mars-rover-landing-seen-from-space.html

If landed craft are allowed, there are also pictures of Mars rovers from Mars orbiters, asteroid landers from their motherships, etc.

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    $\begingroup$ Imaged during "minute six of terror", or "minute of terror six"? This is a beautiful choreography of spacecraft, assuming that it wasn't a coincidence. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Dec 12 '19 at 4:33
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    $\begingroup$ This answer is "technically correct". The best kind of correct! :D $\endgroup$ – avalancha Dec 12 '19 at 14:50
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    $\begingroup$ I think landed craft can definitely be allowed $\endgroup$ – uhoh Dec 12 '19 at 21:36
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The Mars Odyssey orbiter was photographed by Mars Global Surveyor in 2005.

PIA07941: Mars Odyssey from Two Distances in One Image

Figure 1: Why There are Two Images of Odyssey NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft appears twice in the same frame in this image from the Mars Orbiter Camera aboard NASA's Mars Global Surveyor. The camera's successful imaging of Odyssey and of the European Space Agency's Mars Express in April 2005 produced the first pictures of any spacecraft orbiting Mars taken by another spacecraft orbiting Mars.

Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Odyssey are both in nearly circular, near-polar orbits. Odyssey is in an orbit slightly higher than that of Global Surveyor in order to preclude the possibility of a collision. However, the two spacecraft occasionally come as close together as 15 kilometers (9 miles).

The images were obtained by the Mars Global Surveyor operations teamsat Lockheed Martin Space System, Denver; JPL and Malin Space ScienceSystems.

The two views of Mars Odyssey in this image were acquired a little under 7.5 seconds apart as Odyssey receded from a close flyby of Mars Global Surveyor. The geometry of the flyby (see Figure 1) and the camera's way of acquiring an image line-by-line resulted in the two views of Odyssey in the same frame. The first view (right) was taken when Odyssey was about 90 kilometers (56 miles) from Global Surveyor and moving more rapidly than Global Surveyor was rotating, as seen from Global Surveyor. A few seconds later, Odyssey was farther away -- about 135 kilometers (84 miles) -- and appeared to be moving more slowly. In this second view of Odyssey (left), the Mars Orbiter Camera's field-of-view overtook Odyssey.

The Mars Orbiter Camera can resolve features on the surface of Mars as small as a few meters or yards across from Mars Global Surveyor's orbital altitude of 350 to 405 kilometers (217 to 252 miles). From a distance of 100 kilometers (62 miles), the camera would be able to resolve features substantially smaller than 1 meter or yard across.

Mars Odyssey was launched on April 7, 2001, and reached Mars on Oct. 24, 2001. Mars Global Surveyor left Earth on Nov. 7, 1996, and arrived in Mars orbit on Sept. 12, 1997. Both orbiters are in an extended mission phase, both have relayed data from the Mars Exploration Rovers, and both are continuing to return exciting new results from Mars. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, manages both missions for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/MSSS

Image Addition Date: 2005-05-19

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    $\begingroup$ It photographed Mars Express also! nasa.gov/vision/universe/solarsystem/mgs-images.html $\endgroup$ – uhoh Dec 12 '19 at 8:59
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    $\begingroup$ Did they do this just for fun, or was there a science reason for it? $\endgroup$ – Igby Largeman Dec 12 '19 at 22:26
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    $\begingroup$ @IgbyLargeman Yes. $\endgroup$ – ceilingcat Dec 13 '19 at 4:43
  • $\begingroup$ IMO this is the best answer, as it features an orbiter photographing another orbiter. The only thing better would have been if one of the two craft hadn't been in orbit around the same body (e.g. one craft in orbit around a planet and one craft slingshotting around the planet). An orbiter taking a photo of its own lander is relatively trivial. $\endgroup$ – Draco18s no longer trusts SE Dec 14 '19 at 17:59
  • $\begingroup$ @ceilingcat My sides... $\endgroup$ – Igby Largeman Dec 15 '19 at 8:44
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some examples:

enter image description here

  • Cassini and Huygens: this is Huygens as seen by Cassini, 12 hours after Huygens was released.

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  • Rosetta and Philae. During descent:

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Philae's final landing location:

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  • Hayabusa 2 and its many landers. This is a photo of Minerva-II-2 taken by Hayabusa 2:

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ The LRO/Apollo pictures are in Earth orbit, though, since even though LRO is orbiting the Moon, both are still orbiting Earth. $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Dec 12 '19 at 18:02
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    $\begingroup$ that's just hairsplitting. $\endgroup$ – Hobbes Dec 12 '19 at 18:15
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    $\begingroup$ @Hobbes I also thought I remembered a picture of Huygens as it was leaving Cassini, but I couldn't find it. $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Dec 12 '19 at 19:16
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    $\begingroup$ That X/Motif window border though. $\endgroup$ – David Tonhofer Dec 13 '19 at 0:43
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For a case with more extreme relative motion than most of the other answers, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (polar orbit) imaged the LADEE orbiter (close to equatorial orbit) in 2014:

LADEE orbiter from LRO (not aspect corrected)

The LADEE appears rather distorted because the image was taken with a pushbroom camera, not the more familiar framing camera, so LADEE moves between lines relative to the background. However, once that's corrected the barrel-shaped LADEE is mostly identifiable:

LADEE orbiter from LRO (aspect corrected)

(Image credit NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University)

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You can also find photos of some Mars rovers from various orbiters/satellites:

Opportunity from Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

After a planet-wide dust storm in June 2018 blocked the Opportunity rover's solar panels, NASA scientists waited for images from the planet to clear. This image, captured Sept. 20 by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, was among the key signs that the sky was clearing, since engineers could see the rover again. The image was taken from 166 miles (267 kilometers) above the surface of Mars.

enter image description here

And another photo

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And yet another from the MRO:

A close-up of the Opportunity rover perched at the southeast rim of Mars' Santa Maria crater.

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Here's one of the Insight Lander:

NASA's InSight spacecraft, its heat shield and its parachute were imaged on Dec. 6 and 11 by the HiRISE camera onboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

enter image description here

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In a similar vein to Organic Marble's answer:

The Phoenix lander was captured during its descent on May 25, 2008, hanging from its parachute with crater Heimdall in the distant background, and again after landing on Mars and deploying its solar panels, by the HiRISE camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Phoenix during its descent down to Mars in front of Heimdall crater (Source: https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/phoenix/images.php?fileID=9448. In my personal opinion, this is one of the most stunning pictures of this kind ever taken.)

Phoenix on the surface of Mars (Source: https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/phoenix/images.php?fileID=9770)

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    $\begingroup$ Agreed, that's an awesome picture indeed. $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Dec 13 '19 at 15:33
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NASA photographed what was left of the India Vikram Lunar Lander from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

enter image description here

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Yet another example, this time involving a spacecraft that was photographed twice, by two different other spacecraft, beyond Earth orbit. The Beagle 2 Mars lander hitchhiked to Mars on the back of Mars Express, and, in a similar vein to Cassini–Huygens above, Mars Express photographed Beagle 2 after the two separated:

_Mars Express_ (b. 2003): __Beagle 2__, 2003.  CMOS digital camera photograph.

(Image by the European Space Agency, via Flickr, via Cassioli at Wikipedia, via Huntster at Wikimedia Commons. Beagle 2 is the round thing on the far left.)

Beagle 2 failed shortly after touchdown, and it remained missing until the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter photographed it in 2015:

alas, poor _Beagle 2_!  I knew him, Horatio - oh, wait, no, I didn't, nevermind.

(Image by NASA, via Drbogdan at Wikimedia Commons.)

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From this answer:

In the Planetary Society's Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist Emily Lakdawalla's article Fun with a new data set: Chang'e 3 lander and Yutu rover camera data there are several photos from Chang'e-3 and the Yutu rover.

Chang'e-3 and the Yutu rover

above: Chang'e 3 photographed by the Yutu rover, January 13, 2014 read more

Chinese Academy of Sciences / China National Space Administration / The Science and Application Center for Moon and Deepspace Exploration / Emily Lakdawalla

below: Yutu rover photographed by Chang'e 3 December 23, 2013 read more

Chinese Academy of Sciences / China National Space Administration / The Science and Application Center for Moon and Deepspace Exploration / Emily Lakdawalla

Yutu rover photographed by Chang'e 3


From Planetary Society's Editorial Directors Jason Davis's post Chang'e-4 deploys rover on far side of the Moon there is a photo of Yutu-2 being deployed from Chang'e 4. It is likely that there is a reciprocal photo of Chang'e-4 from Yutu-2 but I haven't found one yet.

Yutu-2 being deployed from Chang'e-4

above: Yutu-2 being deployed from Chang'e-4 as photographed by Chang'e-4 read more

The rover rolled onto the surface at 14:22 on 3 January 2019, CNSA / CLEP

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    $\begingroup$ Really interesting pictures. $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Dec 14 '19 at 2:15
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The Apollo 13 Service Module was photographed from the Apollo 13 LEM on the way back to Earth.

Not sure if this is what you were looking for since they were part of the same mission, were on the way back to Earth and were not far away when they separated and the pictures were taken. On the other hand, they were NOT in orbit.

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ Not in orbit? How's that. $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Dec 12 '19 at 23:57
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    $\begingroup$ This doesn't count technically because an astronaut took this photo (re-read he 2nd sentence of the question) but it's a good reminder. Also, since the Moon is in orbit around the Earth, anything cis-lunar is in orbit around the Earth. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Dec 13 '19 at 0:22
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    $\begingroup$ This photo was taken from the command module preparing for re-entry, not from the LEM. $\endgroup$ – David Tonhofer Dec 13 '19 at 0:48
  • $\begingroup$ @OrganicMarble, the command and service modules were both on re-entry trajectories when the photo was taken. $\endgroup$ – Mark Dec 13 '19 at 23:22
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    $\begingroup$ @Mark an orbit that intersects a body or atmosphere is still an orbit. $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Dec 13 '19 at 23:35

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