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Summary | Understand Distance | Avoid Hazards | Create Maps |
Keep Balanced | Know Direction | Traverse Far and Well

Understanding which direction the rover is facing

To determine the rover pointing direction, the Pancam sweeps the sky until it finds the sun. Then, by patiently staring at the sun for 10 minutes or so, the sun tracks approximately 2.5 degrees across the sky.

The flight team can then compute which way the rover is facing by using the sun´s movement and correlating it to the known time and date. For example, on Earth in the summer at noon, the sun will be high in the middle of the sky. Depending on the direction the sun moved in 10 minutes, you could tell which direction you were facing since the sun moves across the sky from east to west.

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