Spirit Mars Rover in 'McMurdo' Panorama, Polar Projection
This self-portrait of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit is a polar projection of the 360-degree "McMurdo" panorama made from images taken by Spirit's panoramic camera (Pancam). From April through October 2006, Spirit stayed on a small hill known as "Low Ridge." There, the rover's solar panels were tilted toward the sun to maintain enough solar power for Spirit to keep making scientific observations throughout the winter on southern Mars. This view of Spirit and the rover's surroundings at Low Ridge is presented in approximately true color.
The Pancam began shooting component images of this panorama during the 814th Martian day, or sol, of Spirit's work on Mars (April 18, 2006) and completed the part shown here on Sol 980 (Oct. 5, 2006).
This is an approximately true-color, red-green-blue composite generated from images taken through the Pancam's 600-nanometer, 530-nanometer and 480-nanometer filters. Some image mosaic seams and brightness variations in the sky as well as several other small areas of color mis-alignments or other mismatch problems have been smoothed over in image processing in order to simulate the view that a human would see if he or she were standing here and looking around. This "natural color" view is the rover team's best estimate of what the scene would look like if we were there and able to see it with our own eyes.
Spirit completed its three-month prime mission on Mars in April 2004, then continued operating in bonus extended missions into March 2010, when it ceased communicating.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State Univ.