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Spirit Mars Rover in 'McMurdo' Panorama, Polar Projection (False Color)
Spirit Mars Rover in 'McMurdo' Panorama, Polar Projection (False Color) (click to enlarge)

Spirit Mars Rover in 'McMurdo' Panorama, Polar Projection (False Color)
Date: 5 Oct 2006

This self-portrait of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit is a polar projection of the 360-degree "McMurdo" panorama made from images taken by Spirit's panoramic camera (Pancam). This view of the rover and its surroundings is presented in exaggerated color to enhance color differences among rocks, soils and sand.

From April through October 2006, Spirit stayed on a small hill known as "Low Ridge." There, the rover's solar panels were tilted toward the sun to maintain enough solar power for Spirit to keep making scientific observations throughout the winter on southern Mars.

The Pancam began shooting component images of this panorama during the 814th Martian day, or sol, of Spirit's work on Mars (18 April 2006) and completed the part shown here on Sol 980 (5 Oct. 2006).

This is a red-green-blue, false-color composite generated from images taken through the Pancam's 600-nanometer, 530-nanometer and 480-nanometer filters. Some image mosaic seams and brightness variations in the sky as well as several other small areas of color mis-alignments or other mismatch problems have been smoothed over in image processing in order to simulate the view that a human would see if he or she were standing here and looking around.

Spirit completed its three-month prime mission on Mars in April 2004, then continued operating in bonus extended missions into March 2010, when it ceased communicating.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State Univ.

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