Mars' Sleepy Hollow
5 Jan 2004
(Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
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JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
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Guy Webster (818) 354-5011
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
Donald Savage (202) 358-1547
NASA Headquarters, Washington
NEWS RELEASE: 2004-004
January 5, 2004
MARS TEAM ENERGIZED ABOUT 'SLEEPY HOLLOW' NEAR ROVER
"Sleepy Hollow," a shallow depression in the Mars ground near NASA's Spirit rover, may become an early destination when the rover drives off its lander platform in a week or so.
That possible crater and other features delighted engineers and scientists examining pictures from the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit's first look around.
"Reality has surpassed fantasy. We're like kids in a candy store," said Art Thompson, rover tactical activity lead at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "We can hardly wait until we get off the lander and start doing fun stuff on the surface."
A clean bill of health from a checkout of all three science instruments on Spirit's robotic arm fortified scientists' anticipation of beginning to use those tools after the rover gets its six wheels onto the ground.
Also, Spirit succeeded Sunday in finding the Sun with its panoramic camera and calculating how to point its main antenna toward Earth by knowing the Sun's position.
"Just as the ancient mariners used sextants for 'shooting the Sun,' as they called it, we were successfully able to shoot the Sun with our panorama camera, then use that information to point the antenna," said JPL's Matt Wallace, mission manger.