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Oblique View of Columbia Hills
12.13.06
Part of Columbia Hills range inside Gusev Crater on Mars

This perspective view looking toward the northeast shows part of the Columbia Hills range inside Gusev Crater. At the center is the winter campaign site of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit.

On its 805th Martian day, or sol, (April 8, 2006), Spirit was parked on a slope tilting 11 degrees to the north to maximize sunlight on the solar panels during the southern winter season. Science observations were formulated to take advantage of the long time during which the rover was parked. The plan focused on two tasks: tracking atmospheric and surface dynamics by periodically surveying the surface and atmosphere; and extensively examining surrounding terrains, rocks and soils using the panoramic camera and the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, coupled with long duration measurements using the alpha particle X-ray and Moessbauer spectrometers of rock and soil targets. For reference, the feature known as "Home Plate" is approximately 90 meters (295 feet) wide.

An image from Mars Global Surveyor's Mars Orbital Camera, catalogued as E03_00012 and courtesy Malin Space Science Systems, was used as the base image for this figure. The perspective was generated using elevation data generated from analyses of the camera's stereo images by the U.S. Geological Survey, Flagstaff, Ariz.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/USGS

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