Yes, about 60 thousand km. Not 60 million, or 160 million. 60 thousand. How?

Several years back I posted on ESA's Mars Express spacecraft, which has a small camera on board called the VMC (Visual Monitoring Camera). Originally, the VMC's purpose was to image a lander probe called Beagle 2 shortly after deployment to make sure it had separated OK. All of that is now 9 years back, Mars Express arrived at Mars on December 25, 2003 and the Beagle 2 lander mission was a failure, but the Mars Express orbiter mission proper has been a resounding success.

Here is that 2009 bautforum post: http://bit.ly/IB8dWc

The VMC wasn't supposed to be used any more after having performed its assigned task of peering at the departing lander probe. But then some engineers proposed to put it back into action. The thing about Mars Express is that it's on an eccentric orbit. Here is a visualization of that orbit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPy5x9r7kfM

You can see that the orbit is polar and eccentric. Its line of apsides (the line connecting the points closest and farthest from Mars) rotates due to the effect of the planet's oblateness. The fact that the orbit is highly eccentric is significant. Most of the actual science, the high powered science, takes place around periares, the part of the orbit that is closest to Mars. At all other times, the spacecraft transmits data to Earth, receives telecommands, if so instructed, performs some maintenance chores ... or just does nothing. So the engineers said: "Well, if it's not doing much around apoares, why not use the VMC to get some additional images then? We can then post them on the internet and let the web community process them." Which is what they did.

The VMC isn't much of a camera. It has a Bayer sensor with a 640x480 resolution and a wide angle lens. It resembles a home webcam. But still, it's a webcam that's at Mars. Ever since reactivating the VMC, they have been posting images on ESA's VMC blog, which is here: http://webservices.esa.int/blog/blog/6

Unfortunately, last autumn, the solid state mass memory controller on Mars Express conked out. While a workaround has been found for that, they still have not returned the VMC to operations. However, the old images up to October 2011 are still online. I have downloaded a series of images from their server and Registax'ed them, then rotating the resulting image such that the view is familiar. As you may have noticed in the youtube movie, at that time the apoares was over the south pole. So here is what one could see from 60,000 km above the South pole of Mars in October 2011:

http://bit.ly/KmZ79r

I haven't done much post-processing or enhancement other than the stacking and wavelet transform which Registax did for me. What you see in that image is the terminator, of course, and then part of the southern hemisphere. The equator is more or less near the limb of the planet, because the pictures were taken from above the South Pole.

The large impact basin on center stage is Argyre Planitia. Here it is again on Google Mars: http://bit.ly/Jv29KM

One can make out the inflow channels surrounding the basin. These channels were sculpted by water that flowed into the deep basin, back when Mars was still a warmer and wetter place with an atmosphere that was dense enough to allow liquid water on the surface.

Of course, in our day and age we are used to much better imagery from Mars. However, this image is better than what even professional astronomers had to work with only 50 years ago.