NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit will not plant a flag, as did Sir Edmund Hillary when he scaled Mount Everest on Earth, when the rover reaches the hilltop outcrop shown here, which scientists have nicknamed in honor of Hillary. But Spirit will send images and other scientific data across the millions of miles that separate Earth from the distant planet where no human has yet set foot. This false-color view combines images that Spirit took with its panoramic camera during the rover's 608th martian day, or sol (Sept. 18, 2005). The site is on top of "Husband Hill" inside Gusev Crater, where the rover has been conducting scientific studies. The component images were taken through the camera's 750-nanometer, 530-nanometer and 430-nanometer filters.
The slightly lower outcrop to the left of "Hillary" is nicknamed "Tenzing." The names recall the first humans -- Hillary of New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay of Nepal -- to reach the highest point on Earth, in 1953. Husband Hill rises 106 meters (348 feet) above the surrounding plains.