Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2004 January 8
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

The Hills of Mars
Credit: Mars Exploration Rover Mission, JPL, NASA

Explanation: Distant hills rise above a rocky, windswept plain in this sharp stereo scene from the Spirit rover on Mars. When viewed with red/blue glasses, the picture combines left and right images from Spirit's high resolution panoramic camera to yield a dramatic 3D perspective. The hills were estimated to lie about 2 kilometers away and be approximately 50 to 100 meters high. Along with other features of the landscape, determining their direction and distance will help pinpoint the exact location of the Spirit landing site when compared with high resolution images of the region taken from Mars orbit. Much stereo image data, allowing important estimates of three dimensional shapes, sizes, and distances, is anticipated from the rover's cameras. (Editor's note: Red/blue glasses for viewing stereo pictures can be purchased or simply constructed using red and blue plastic for filters. Try it! To view this image, the red filter is used for the left eye.)

Tomorrow's picture: Sol 5 postcard

< | Archive | Index | Search | Calendar | Glossary | Education | About APOD | >

Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Web Site Statements, Warnings, and Disclaimers
NASA Official: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.