Status Reports

Text Size

Shadows Draw Attention to Features of Mars Landscape (Sand Ripples)
Series of Mars images taken by Spirit

Taking advantage of lengthening shadows during the onset of winter and at different times of day, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit acquired this series of images accentuating subtle features in the terrain. Images acquired at low sun angles allow scientists to better understand differences in surface roughness among soils and rocks. Variations in how brightly sunlight reflects off surfaces under different lighting conditions help scientists estimate the microscopic physical characteristics of the mineral grains in different rocks and soils. Shadows from the rover itself are visible in the foreground of the late-afternoon mosaic and cover part of the rover's tracks and disturbed, light-toned soils. Spirit acquired these sets of images at different Local True Solar Times on martian days, known as sols, 930 (Aug. 15, 2006), 931 (Aug. 16, 2006), and 935 (Aug. 20, 2006) using the 601-nanometer filter of the panoramic camera. Spirit acquired the single-frame images of sand ripples with the panoramic camera turned to an azimuth of 290 degrees (west-northwest).

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell

+ High resolution JPEG