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First Images!


View a larger Orbital Map image (top image - 380 kB),
Black-and-White context image (two middle images - 1 MB), or
Color Panorama (bottom image - 350 kB) or learn about other sol 7 images.

At 7:00 am on Saturday, August 10, the FIDO team received their very first images from the FIDO rover (image 1b, 1c, and 1d). Before these images, the scientists and engineers only had "orbital" data (image 1a) of the potential landing area. Simulating operations on Mars, the scientists were given a view from above of the landing site and throughout the test, they will compare and contrast the images taken by rover on the ground with images taken from above to help them solve the mysteries of the location.

2001 Mars Odyssey and Mars Global Surveyor, which are currently orbiting Mars, are already busy collecting scientific data about the Mars Exploration Rover mission's potential landing sites.

The FIDO test science team members started their detective work today, looking for clues in these images to help them figure out where they are on Earth and what this location can tell them about the current and past climate here.

FIDO and the science team begin their 20 sol test.

During the FIDO test, scientists are learning how to work best as an efficient team. They must make important decisions together at a relentless pace. Every day, the team is simulating two martian days (or sols). Each sol, or twice a day, they receive information about the health of the rover and new images and scientific data from the remote "field geologist." The science team has to quickly analyze the data, prioritize their goals for the next sol, and come to an agreement on what science experiments they will do and where they will send the rover the next sol.

Science team member Jim Bell, an astronomy professor at Cornell, observed the data with his new colleagues at Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "The landing site appears to contain an incredible assortment of geologic features, including hills, valleys, rocks and boulders, and light- and dark-toned soils. We are busily poring over these exciting initial images, studying the geologic features in the vicinity of the landing site, and trying to determine the most interesting regions that we can potentially drive the rover toward in the next few days."

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Last Updated: 16 August 2002

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