A Happy 4th!
NASA'S Mars Exploration Rover Spirit captured this westward view from atop a low plateau where it spent the closing months of 2007.
With its daily solar-energy supply shrinking as Martian summer turned to fall, Spirit drove to the northern edge of the plateau called "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, PST).
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.
Spirit was perched near the western edge of Home Plate when it used its panoramic camera (Pancam) to take the images used in this view. This view combines separate images taken through Pancam filters centered on wavelengths of 753 nanometers, 535 nanometers and 432 nanometers and is presented in a false-color stretch to bring out subtle color differences in the scene.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell University