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. Spirit Looks Back Up Husband Hill

Full panorama. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
by Staff Writers
Pasadena CA (SPX) May 02, 2006
This field of sand ripples now separates Spirit from the slopes of Husband Hill, where NASA's rover will spend the Martin winter. It has been 200 sols, or Martian days, since Spirit started its descent from the top of the peak to its current position on a formation that mission scientists have named Low Ridge.

This panoramic view, which Spirit acquired on April 17, on sol 813 of its mission, shows the Sun low in the sky late in the afternoon. Because of the low-angle lighting, with sunlight coming from the left, the image provides sharp views of subtle textures in the topography both near and far.

Husband Hill - part of the Columbia Hills at Gusev Crater - is where the rover perched last summer. It rises prominently just left of center in this image, with a 150-meter (500 foot) wide field of curving sand ripples named El Dorado lying at its base.

Mission scientists at Jet Propulsion Laboratory think that by directing Spirit's cameras to collect images like this one at different times of day, when lighting comes from different directions, they can distinguish surface properties such as color and reflectivity from topography and roughness.

Then, by separating the components, they can map more details of the geologic terrain, providing new clues about the geologic history of Gusev.

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Opportunity Encounters Rolling Ripples
Pasadena CA (SPX) May 02, 2006
NASA's Mars rover Opportunity continues to cut southward across a plain marked by large sand ripples and a pavement of outcrop rock.

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