Monday, October 30, 2006

Biggest every panarama from Mars

In celebration of over 1000 days of successful operation on Mars, the Spirit rover (the original mission plan called for an effective life of just 3 months) has completed a huge new 360-degree panoramic view from its winter resting place, a small hill known as "Low Ridge, which has been home since April. The stop was required as the reduced sunlight of the winter months on Mars precluded any significant activity. The panorama was compiled several pictures at a time every few sols (a Martian day) over a total of 119 sols. The McMurdo panorama (as it has been dubbed) shows volcanic rocks around the rover, Husband Hill on the right, the El Dorado sand dunes near the hill and Home Plate below the dunes. Two rocks, right of center, are believed to be meteorites. The total volume of data transmitted back to Earth exceeded 500 megabytes. A variety of mages are available at the NASA Spirit homepage in both regular and 3D formats.