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 14
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

A Mars Panorama from the Spirit Rover
Credit: Mars Exploration Rover Mission, JPL, NASA

Explanation: If you could stand on Mars -- what would you see? Scrolling right will reveal a full color 360-degree panoramic view from NASA's Spirit Rover that landed on Mars just 10 days ago. The image is a digital mosaic from the panoramic camera that shows the view in every direction. Annotated on the image are the directions and distances to various hills along the horizon. These hills are valuable for orienting Spirit since they are also visible to the Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Odyssey spacecraft orbiting high overhead. Visible in the foreground are several instruments and airbags around Columbia Memorial Station. Spirit will attempt to roll onto the red planet in the next few days and explore interesting features.

Tomorrow's picture: Orion deep field

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
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& Michigan Tech. U.