Photo in the News: Mars Rover Still on Task Two Years Later

Image: Mars rover self-portrait
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January 4, 2006—Spirits are high at NASA as the Mars exploration rover Spirit passes its two-year anniversary since touching down on the red planet on January 3, 2004. The robotic rover's sister craft, Opportunity, will celebrate its two-year mark on January 24.

To commemorate the event, NASA yesterday released the latest images captured by Spirit, including this self-portrait within a 360-degree panoramic mosaic of the Martian landscape. The image shows the rover's solar panels gleaming in the sunlight, marred by only a thin layer of red dust.

Spirit captured the hundreds of frames needed to create this image between August 24-27, 2005, from the summit of Husband Hill inside Mars' Gusev Crater. The composite image is the largest panorama ever photographed by the rover.

—Victoria Gilman

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