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.

2006 March 15
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McCool Hill on Mars
Credit: Mars Exploration Rover Mission, Cornell, JPL, NASA

Explanation: You can make it. Winter is rapidly advancing on the southern hemisphere on Mars, and the lack of sunlight could be dangerous unless you find a good place to hibernate. There it is ahead: McCool Hill. As the robotic Spirit rover rolling across Mars, you are told that this will be a good place to spend the Martian winter. On the north slope of McCool Hill, you can tilt your solar panels toward the Sun enough to generate the power you need to keep running through the winter. Between you and McCool Hill is an unusual reddish outcropping of rocks. Also visible above, unusual layered rocks lie to your right, while other scattered rocks appear either smooth or sponge-like. Fortunately, there is still some time to explore, and the landscape before you may hold more clues to the history of ancient Mars.

Tomorrow's picture: deep south

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
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