Status Report

NASA Mars Spirit Rover: New Images of new target rocks

By SpaceRef Editor
January 31, 2004
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These are the first images sent back from the panoramic camera on the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit since the rover experienced communications problems on the 18th sol, or martian day, of its mission. They were acquired at Gusev Crater, Mars, on Sol 26 (Jan. 29, 2004), showing that the camera’s health remained excellent during Spirit’s recovery. Two of Spirit’s potential target rocks, which are near the rock called Adirondack, can be seen on the lower left and right. The rock on the left has been named “Cake,” and the white rock on the right has been named “Blanco.”

In the upper left is a color image of the panoramic camera calibration target, also known as the martian sundial. The color panel of the calibration target looks almost exactly like it did on Earth, indicating that the color shown of Mars, though approximated, is close to true color.

The monochrome image in the upper right shows the sun, magnified five times. This image was acquired by the panoramic camera as part of a routine sequence of images designed to monitor the dust abundance in the martian atmosphere. The dust abundance appears to be decreasing slowly with time, consistent with the atmosphere continuing to clear after the large dust storm of last December.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell

SpaceRef staff editor.