Watch ExoMars Hurtle Through Space

It's like an asteroid, but headed the opposite direction

ExoMars orbiter in space
ExoMars orbiter in spaceOASI Observatory team; D. Lazzaro, S. Silva

On Monday, the European Space Agency's ExoMars orbiter launched off toward the red planet. Once it gets there seven months from now, the orbiter will map methane gas, but until then, it's hurtling through space. And asteroid hunters spotted its bright light along with six fainter blotches, which are debris from the Proton rocket that ferried it to space.

The spacecraft actually acts pretty similar to an asteroid, but in reverse. Instead of a near Earth object plummeting toward us, it's swiftly jetting away. The images were taken late at night by a telescope at the Observatório Astronômico do Sertão de Itaparica in Brazil. Watch the brilliant spot fly by in the gif below.