'Lights Out' on Mars (3-D)
September 10, 2004
In this 3-D image, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit takes a good look around at its surroundings high above Gusev Crater as mission planners prepared for solar conjunction on sol 244 (Sept. 9, 2004). On this day, and over the next 11 days, the rover will be out of reach as the Sun moves between Earth and Mars, blocking communications. Scientists are currently discussing potential light-duty assignments that may involve taking images of surrounding terrain, recording wind patterns in the dust, or completing scientific analysis of dust collected on the rover's magnets. Otherwise, Spirit will essentially be on vacation until sol 255 (Sept. 20, 2004). Dominating the left side of this image, to the east, is the high point of the West Spur region of the Columbia Hills, where Spirit has been exploring rock outcrops since June.
Topics: Environment, Gusev crater, Mars Exploration Rover, Spirit rover, Technology Internet, Columbia Hills, Spirit rover timeline for 2005 March, Opportunity rover, Mars