How To Send A Last-Minute Christmas Card From Mars And Beyond

Looking for a unique photo for a last minute holiday card? If you want something out of this world then NASA has you covered with its Mars Photo Booth.

An augmented reality service, it takes any image of a person and digitally cuts them out, inserting them into an image of the red planet.

Originally devised to promote its Mars 2020 mission back in 2020 (who can forget the landing video?, it’s lately been refreshed with new backgrounds and now includes four of the surface of the red planet—one alongside Perseverance and the other the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter—as well as NASA’s Mission Control.

All you have to do is upload your image, choose a background and then download, save and share the finished composite image. It’s free, unlike sending a holiday card to Mars itself, which NASA once estimated would cost about $17,000.

Sending a photo from Mars is one option, but you can go much deeper into the cosmos.

It may been usurped as the world’s favorite space observatory by the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), but on the website of the Hubble Space Telescope it’s possible to send a greetings card from outer space.

There are 42 designs to choose from, including a simple Christmas wreath, two edge-on galaxies, the beautifully colorful Veil Nebula supernova remnant, the entrancing Arp 273 spiral galaxy and the “grand design galaxy” M74 complete with snowflakes.

For each image—all adorned with messages—there’s a choice of two sizes of JPEG photo file (6×4’ and 7×5’) and a PDF file (7×5’). They’re all copyright-free so can be printed from your own computer or by a photo store or online photolab.

Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes.

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