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Spirit's West Valley Panorama

For the full panaorama please go here. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell University
by Staff Writers
Pasadena CA (SPX) Jan 04, 2008
NASA'S Mars Exploration Rover Spirit captured this westward view from atop a low plateau where Sprit spent the closing months of 2007. After several months near the base of the plateau called "Home Plate" in the inner basin of the Columbia Hills range inside Gusev Crater, Spirit climbed onto the eastern edge of the plateau during the rover's 1,306th Martian day, or sol, (Sept. 5, 2007).

It examined rocks and soils at several locations on the southern half of Home Plate during September and October. It was perched near the western edge of Home Plate when it used its panoramic camera (Pancam) to take the images used in this view on sols 1,366 through 1,369 (Nov. 6 through Nov. 6, 2007).

With its daily solar-energy supply shrinking as Martian summer turned to fall, Spirit then drove to the northern edge of Home Plate for a favorable winter haven. The rover reached that northward-tilting site in December, in time for the fourth Earth-year anniversary of its landing on Mars. Spirit reached Mars on Jan. 4, 2004, Universal Time (Jan. 3, 2004, Pacific Standard Time). It landed at a site at about the center of the horizon in this image.

This panorama covers a scene spanning left to right from southwest to northeast. The western edge of Home Plate is in the foreground, generally lighter in tone than the more distant parts of the scene. A rock-dotted hill in the middle distance across the left third of the image is "Tsiolkovski Ridge," about 30 meters or 100 feet from the edge of Home Plate and about that same distance across.

A bump on the horizon above the left edge of Tsiolkovski Ridge is "Grissom Hill," about 8 kilometers or 5 miles away. At right, the highest point of the horizon is "Husband Hill," to the north and about 800 meters or half a mile away.

This view combines separate images taken through Pancam filters centered on wavelengths of 753 nanometers, 535 nanometers and 432 nanometers to produce an approximately true-color panorama.

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Mars Rovers Find Evidence Of Habitable Niche As Perilous Third Winter Approaches
Cornell NY (SPX) Dec 31, 2007
Inch by power-conserving inch, drivers on Earth have moved the Mars rover Spirit to a spot where it has its best chance at surviving a third Martian winter -- and where it will celebrate its fourth anniversary (in Earth years) since bouncing down on Mars for a projected 90-day mission in January 2004.









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