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Press Release Images: Spirit
16-Jul-2004
NASA's Mars Rovers Roll Into Martian Winter
Full Press Release
Rock Outcrop Under Spirit's Wheels
Rock Outcrop Under Spirit's Wheels

After months of traveling across a cratered plain, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit took this image of a large, continuous rock outcrop at the base of the "Columbia Hills." The image was taken on sol 189 (July 15, 2004) with the rover's rear hazard-avoidance camera. Spirit's left rear wheel is visible in the image, along with rocks that have a somewhat layered appearnce.

The rover drove over this area backward on five wheels -- a new strategy that will conserve the rover's sixth, aging wheel for those times when it is needed most. Spirit is on its way to the north-facing slope of the hills, where it can look at rock outcrop in more detail, using more solar power.

Image credit: NASA/JPL
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Portrait of an Aging Wheel
Portrait of an Aging Wheel

This plot maps the increasing amounts of energy needed to spin Spirit's right front wheel drive, which has been showing signs of age. The wheel has now traveled six times farther than its design life. Since Spirit's 126th day on Mars, this wheel has required additional electric current to run at normal speeds, as indicated with blue diamonds on this graph. Efforts to improve the situation by redistributing the lubricant in the wheel with heat and rest were only mildly successful (pink squares). To cope with the condition, rover planners have come up with a creative solution: they will drive the rover backwards using five of six wheels. The sixth wheel will be activated only when the terrain demands it.

Image credit: NASA/JPL
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Spirit Total Traverse Map
Spirit Total Traverse Map

The yellow line on this map illustrates the total path traveled by NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit during its mission. Spirit landed at the starting point at Gusev Crater on Jan. 3, 2004, and has since traveled about 3.5 kilometers (2.2 miles) to reach "West Spur" at the "Columbia Hills." Also seen on the map are "Bonneville" and "Missoula" craters. The blue dotted line illustrates the energy-efficient path planned for Spirit to reach intriguing rock outcrops atop "West Spur."

The map was created using data from the camera on NASA's Mars Global Surveyor orbiter.

Image credit: NASA/JPL/MSSS/ASU/New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science
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Spirit Traverse Map
Spirit Traverse Map

This map illustrates the NASA Mars Exploration Rover Spirit's position at the base of the "Columbia Hills" from sols 183 to 187 (July 9 to 13, 2004). The dotted blue line indicates the rover's planned energy-efficient path to climb the hill and reach the intriguing rock outcrops at the top of "West Spur."

The map was created using data from the camera on NASA's Mars Global Surveyor orbiter.

Image credit: NASA/JPL/MSSS/ASU/New Mexico Museum of Natural History
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Spirit Traverse Map - 2
Spirit Traverse Map - 2

The red dot labeled "Sol 134-141" in this map illustrates when and where NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit acquired the "Santa Anita Panorama." Scientists consider this area, located roughly three-fourths of the way between "Bonneville Crater" and the base of the "Columbia Hills," a treasure trove that may be studied for decades to come. The panorama is one of four 360-degree full panoramas the rover has acquired during its mission.

The color thermal inertia data show how well different surface features hold onto heat. Red indicates a high thermal inertia associated with rocky terrain (regions that take longer to warm up and cool down); blue indicates a lower thermal inertia associated with smaller particles and fewer rocks (areas that warm up and cool off quickly). The map comprises background images from the camera on NASA's Mars Global Surveyor orbiter and data from the thermal emission spectrometer on NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter.

Image credit: NASA/JPL/MSSS/ASU/Ames/New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science
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'Santa Anita' Panorama
'Santa Anita' Panorama

This color mosaic taken on May 21, 25 and 26, 2004, by the panoramic camera on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit was acquired from a position roughly three-fourths the way between "Bonneville Crater" and the base of the "Columbia Hills." The area is within a low thermal inertia unit (an area that heats up and cools off quickly) identified from orbit by the Mars Odyssey thermal emission imaging system instrument. The rover was roughly 600 meters (1,968 feet) from the base of the hills.

This mosaic, referred to as the "Santa Anita Panorama," is comprised of 64 pointings, acquired with six of the panoramic camera's color filters, including one designed specifically to allow comparisons between orbital and surface brightness data. A total of 384 images were acquired as part of this panorama. The mosaic is an approximate true-color rendering constructed from images using the camera's 750-, 530- and and 480-nanometer filters, and is presented at the full resolution of the camera.

Image credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell
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A Peak of Interest
A Peak of Interest

This approximate true-color rendering of an image taken by the panoramic camera on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit shows a view of the peak-like outcrop atop "West Spur." Spirit will attempt to drive up the north slope of the "Columbia Hills" to reach similar rock outcrops and investigate the composition of the hills. The image was taken on sol 178 (July 4, 2004) using the camera's 750-, 530- and 430-nanometer filters.

Image credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell
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Spirit's Course-1
Spirit's Course-1

This map shows the north-facing slopes of the "Columbia Hills," just in front of the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit's current position. Bright areas indicate surfaces sloping more toward the north than dark areas. To reach the rock outcrop at the top of the hill, engineers will aim to drive the rover around the dark areas, which would yield less solar power. The curved black line in the middle represents the rover's planned traverse path.

Image credit: NASA/JPL
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Spirit's Course-2

This digital elevation map shows the topography of the "Columbia Hills," just in front of the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit's current position. Rover planners have plotted the safest route for Spirit to climb to the front hill, called "West Spur." The black line in the middle of the image represents the rover's traverse path, which starts at "Hank's Hollow" and ends at the top of "West Spur." Scientists are sending Spirit up the hill to investigate the interesting rock outcrops visible in images taken by the rover. Data from the Mars Orbital Camera on the orbiting Mars Global Surveyor were used to create this 3-D map.

Image credit: NASA/JPL/USGS/MSSS
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Spirit's Course-3
Spirit's Course-3

This digital map shows the slopes of the "Columbia Hills," just in front of the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit's current position. Colors indicate the slopes of the hills, with red areas being the gentlest and blue the steepest. Rover planners have plotted the safest route for Spirit to climb the front hill, called "West Spur." The path is indicated here with a curved black line. Stereo images from the Mars Orbital Camera on the orbiting Mars Global Surveyor were used to create this 3-D map.

Image credit: NASA/JPL/USGS/MSSS
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Testing Spirit on Five Wheels
Testing Spirit on Five Wheels

This picture shows a model of the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit being tested for performance on five wheels at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Spirit's right front wheel, now operating at six times its design life, has been showing signs of age, so rover planners devised a creative approach to keep the rover moving. They will drive Spirit backwards on five wheels, engaging the sixth wheel only sparingly to ensure its availability for tougher terrain. Tests performed at JPL allowed the rover planners to come up with this roundabout solution, and to develop commands that will help the five-wheeled rover steer.

Image credit: NASA/JPL
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Way to Go Spirit!
Way to Go Spirit!

This image taken by the front hazard-avoidance camera on the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit demonstrates that the rover successfully completed its second, five-wheeled drive over a distance of 3 meters (9.8 feet). The rover has now traveled a total of 10 meters (32.8 feet) in this fashion. Because Spirit's right front wheel has been showing signs of wear, rover planners will drive it backwards on its remaining five wheels. The sixth wheel will be activated only when it is needed to surmount more demanding terrain. This picture was taken on July 15, 2004, and shows the view from behind the backward-facing rover.

Image credit: NASA/JPL
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