Barren, alien, yet strangely beautiful, this is the planet Mars as it has never been seen before from the Earth. The new image taken by the Hubble Space Telescope is the best ever obtained by an Earth-based observatory. They reveal that while it may be a hostile, arid, lifeless world, Mars is far from inactive. Swirling dust storms can be seen raging across a cratered, rusty landscape while high in the thin atmosphere, sweeping frosty white ice clouds look as if they have been painted by an artist’s hand. The photograph was taken on June 26, when Mars was about 43 million miles from Earth – the nearest it has been since 1988.