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Zen-Like Quality of Mars
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Zen-Like Quality of Mars

May 13, 2005
Like a circular ripple intersecting a flowing stream, the tracks created by NASA's Spirit rover are reminiscent of a Zen rock garden. Highly prized in Japan, such gardens use rocks and raked gravel to suggest entire landscapes of islands, seas, and streams. A centuries-old Buddhist and Taoist tradition, the creation and contemplation of rock gardens serves to reduce the complexity of life and allow the individual to develop inner calm, though whether Spirit is developing robotic inner calm may be open to speculation. Spirit took this mosaic of images with its navigation camera on martian day, or sol, 476 (May 5, 2005), at the end of a drive. Spirit is continuing to examine outcrops in the "Columbia Hills."


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