A planned private mission to Mars is facing fresh challenges, after it was revealed the craft would arrive at night - and the crew would require night vision goggles to see the surface.
Its plan is to send a crew of two people - possibly an older married couple - to circle the planet and fly over its surface from a distance of just 100 miles.
The mission would need to leave in 2018, in order to take advantage of a rare alignment that would cut the return journey time to just 501 days, as opposed to many years.
But now it turns out the explorers would need night vision goggles to see the planet once they arrive, as the geometry of the trip needs the astronauts to arrive at night.
"The opportunities for flybys on the far side or on the near side [of Mars] are different," said Mike Loucks of the Space Exploration Engineering Corp, according to Space.com.
"[It] just requires us to go on the other side, and that's the other side from the sun … On this one, there isn't any way around that."
Instead of the red surface bathed in light, the astronauts would see the Martian dawn as they approach - and a greenish tinge of the planet through night-vision tech once they get there.
The team is now working with various companies to work out the best way to make the most of the journey - which is still a long shot.
But let's hope they get there - and have a decent enough set of goggles once they arrive.Suggest a correction