One part of the research program that NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit is conducting while sitting at a favorable location for wintertime solar energy is the most detailed panorama yet taken on the surface of Mars. This view is a partial preliminary product from the continuing work on the full image, which will be called the "McMurdo Panorama."
Spirit's panoramic camera (Pancam) began taking exposures for the McMurdo Panorama on the rover's 814th Martian day (April 18, 2006). The rover has accumulated more than 900 exposures for this panorama so far, through all of the Pancam mineralogy filters and using little or no image compression. Even with a tilt toward the winter sun, the amount of energy available daily is small, so the job will still take one to two more months to complete.
This portion of the work in progress looks toward the north. "Husband Hill," which Spirit was climbing a year ago, is on the horizon near the center. "Home Plate" is a between that hill and the rover's current position. Wheel tracks imprinted when Spirit drove south from Home Plate can be seen crossing the middle distance of the image from the center to the right.
This view is presented in false color to emphasize differences among rock and soil materials. It combines exposures taken through three of the panoramic camera's filters, centered on wavelengths of 750 nanometers, 530 nanometers and 430 nanometers.