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Press Release Images: Spirit
19-Jan-2005
 
A flat metal surface is covered with dozens of flat-lying, rectangular solar cells, each measuring about two inches wide by 1 inch high, lined up side by side in vertical rows and connected by metal contacts and electrical wires. At the bottom of the image is a cylindrical metal mast projecting up out of the page. Just in front of the mast is a small cable tie that looks much like a wire tie used to fasten a plastic household trash bag.
Cable Tie on the Spirit Rover's Deck, Day 1

A cable-tie no more than several centimeters (a few inches) long, resembling the wires used to fasten bags around loaves of bread, has remained in place on the deck of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit since landing day. It is the light-toned squiggle shape against a dark background near the lower right corner of this low-resolution image taken by Spirit's navigation camera on Jan. 4, 2004, a few hours after landing. Since then, the tie has left a trail of tracks where dust has accumulated on the rover, apparent in an image taken one year later . Because the martian atmosphere is so thin, even high-speed winds are not expected to dislodge the tie from its present location. This image of the spacecraft deck also shows parts of the rover's solar arrays.

Image credit: NASA/JPL
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A flat metal surface is covered with dozens of flat-lying, rectangular solar cells, each measuring about two inches wide by 1 inch high, lined up side by side in vertical rows and connected by metal contacts and electrical wires. At the bottom of the image is a cylindrical metal mast projecting up out of the page. Just in front of the mast is a small cable tie that looks much like a wire tie used to fasten a plastic household trash bag. Beneath the tie is a circuitous, meandering dark streak that marks the trail the tie has made in a fine layer of martian dust.
A Year's Worth of Tracks in the Dust

A cable-tie no more than several centimeters (a few inches) long, resembling the wires used to fasten bags around loaves of bread, has left a trail of streaks in a fine layer of dust on the deck of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit. It is the light-toned squiggle shape against a dark background slightly below and to the right of the center of this image. The tie has been sliding around in a containment bowl created by the solar array and the base of the Pancam Mast Assembly since landing day on Jan. 3, 2004. A low-resolution image from a few hours after landing shows the tie present on the deck. Engineers speculate that the tie may have sprung loose from the bridle that lowered the rover to the surface of Mars or from the rover, lander, backshell, or parachute can. Together, those components used more than 1,000 cable ties, all sterilized like the rover itself to prevent transfer of contaminants from Earth to Mars. Close inspection of the marks in the dust left by the tie reveals that, much like pictographs on a rock wall, older streaks have been covered with dust, while newer streaks are superimposed on the dust that covers the older streaks. Spirit took this picture with its navigation camera on martian day, or sol, 358 (Jan. 3, 2005).

Image credit: NASA/JPL
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