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Multimedia for the Press Event for Mars
12.11.07
 
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First 414 Sols at 'Victoria Crater'

image of the Rovers path


"Victoria Crater," about 800 meters (one-half mile) in diameter, has been home ground for NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity for more 14 of the rover's first 46 months on Mars. This view shows the rover's path overlaid on an image of the crater taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Opportunity first reached the crater's rim on Sept. 27, 2006, during the 951st Martian day, or sol, of the rover's work in the Meridian Planum region of Mars. The rover then explored clockwise about one-fourth of the way around the rim before returning to a point close to its first overlook. On the mission's 1,293rd sol (Sept. 13, 2007), Opportunity began a sustained exploration of the interior of the crater, entering at an alcove called "Duck Bay" on the western side of Victoria. This traverse map includes Opportunity's route though Sol 1,365 (Nov. 26, 2007). The scale bar is 300 meters (984 feet) long. > Click for high resolutionImage Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/Cornell/Ohio State University

Spirit's Traverse, Sols 1 to 1,386

image of Mars Exploration Rover Spirit crossing northward on a low plateau called


NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit was crossing northward on a low plateau called "Home Plate" on the 1,386th Martian day, or sol, (Nov. 26, 2007) of Spirit's time on Mars. By that time, nearly 47 months into a mission originally planned to last three months, Spirit had driven 7,435 meters (4.62 miles). From its landing site near the northwest corner of this map, Spirit crossed a plain to reach the Columbia Hills, climbed over the summit of Husband Hill, and descended into the "Inner Basin" of the range, near the southeast corner of the map. For this map, the yellow line indicating Spirit's route has been overlaid onto a portion of an image taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on Nov. 22, 2006. The scale bar on the map is 500 meters (1,640 feet) long. North is up. > Click for high resolution Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UA/Cornell/NM Museum of Natural History and Science

Heading for Next Winter Haven

image of NASA's Spirit rover route


Approaching its 47th month of a Mars surface mission originally planned to last three months, NASA's Spirit rover was also approaching the northern edge of a low plateau called "Home Plate." The rover's operators selected an area with north-facing slope there as a destination where Spirit would have its best chance of surviving low-solar-energy conditions of oncoming Martian winter.

The yellow line on this map of the Home Plate area indicates Spirit's route from early February 2006, entering the mapped area from the north (top), to late November 2007, on the western edge of the bright-toned Home Plate plateau. The map covers an area about 160 meters (525 feet) across from west to east. Labels indicate the area intended for Spirit to spend many months spanning the rover's third Martian winter, the site where it spent about seven months (April to November 2006) spanning its second winter, and the site where it lost use of the drive motor for one of its six wheels.

A north-facing slope helps Spirit maximizes electric output from its solar panels during winter months because Spirit is in the southern hemisphere of Mars, so the sun appears only in the northern sky during winter. For the third winter, which will reach its minumum solar-energy days in early June 2008, Spirit faces the challenge of having more dust on its solar panels than it had during its second winter. The base image for this map is a portion of a color image taken on Jan. 9, 2007, by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. > Click for high resolutionImage Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UA/Cornell/NM Museum of Natural History and Science

Still Shining After All this Time (Sol 586)

Mars Exploration Rover Spirit shows the solar panels


An August 2005 self-portrait of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit shows the solar panels still gleaming in the Martian sunlight and carrying only a thin veneer of dust more than a year and a half after the rover landed and began exploring the Red Planet. Spirit's panoramic camera took this mosaic of images on the 586th sol, or Martian day, of exploration (Aug. 27, 2005), as part of a mammoth undertaking that resulted in the largest panorama ever acquired by Spirit. This image is a subset of that panorama, showing just the rover. The vertical projection used here produces the best view of the rover deck itself, though it distorts the ground and antennas somewhat. This image is an approximate true-color rendering that combines images taken through the camera's 600-nanometer, 530-nanometer and 480-nanometer filters. > Click for high resolutionImage Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell

Dusty Solar Panels on Spirit

view of NASA Rover Spirit's deck


The deck of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit is so dusty that the rover almost blends into the dusty background in this image assembled from frames taken by the panoramic camera (Pancam) during the period from Spirit's Sol 1,355 through Sol 1,358 (Oct. 26-29, 2007).

Dust on the solar panels reduces the amount of electrical power the rover can generate from sunlight each sol. Earlier self-portraits by Spirit, such as one taken on Sol 586, offer a comparison view of cleaner solar panels. The vertical projection used here produces the best view of the rover deck, though it distorts the ground and antennas somewhat. The eight-pointed star shape near the front of the rover (bottom of the image) marks the location of the camera mast, which is out of view of the Pancam atop the mast. This mosaic view in approximate true color is a composite of frames taken through the Pancam's filters centered on wavelengths of 600 nanometers, 530 nanometers and 480 nanometers. > Click for high resolutionImage Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell

 
 
Cynthia O'Carroll
Goddard Space Flight Center