The image was initially snapped October 2 by MarCO B, one of the twin MarCO CubeSats, during an exposure test of the space probe's wide-angle camera when it was some 8 million miles from the Red Planet. Mars appears as a small red dot in the lower left portion of the photo.
In order to line up the image correctly, NASA officials had to program the CubeSats to rotate in space so as to not photograph parts of the spacecraft's body. In the photo, bits of the craft's antenna can be seen along the right border and the left bottom corner.
"We've been waiting six months to get to Mars," Cody Colley, MarCO's mission manager at JPL, said. "The cruise phase of the mission is always difficult, so you take all the small wins when they come."
"Finally seeing the planet is definitely a big win for the team," he added.
Though the twin spacecraft are officially known as MarCO A and MarCO B, they have been bestowed the nicknames "Eve" and "Wall-E" by their engineering teams, according to a statement released by the space agency. The nicknames were taken from the 2008 Pixar film "Wall-E."
Launched alongside NASA's InSight Mars lander in early May, researchers have indicated that both CubeSats are effectively "chasing" Mars as it orbits the sun, in order to be in position to capture InSight's landing on the planet.
InSight Mars is expected to land November 26.