Astronomy Picture of the Day
September 13, 2012

Deflated Airbags at Spirit's Landing Site - Sol 35
Deflated Airbags at Spirit's Landing Site - Sol 35

Credits: NASA/JPL- MER Spirit - Credits for the additional process. and color.: Dr Gianluigi Barca/Lunar Explorer Italia/IPF

It seems yesterday, but this highly suggestive picture showing a Rocky Panorama of a Windswept Plain was taken about 9 years ago by the NASA - Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Spirit, only 35 Soles (---> Martian Days) after its landing inside Gusev Crater (an Impact Crater which is thought to be an ancient lakebed). The (now completely deflated) Airbags that protected the MER during its (VERY!) rough landing are partially covered by a "sticky" brown/orange Dust and they can be clearly seen on the lower right side of the picture. Rocks, Boulders and several small, colorful Sand Ripples are well visible all around, waiting for the Rover to begin with its adventure which, as you know, would have lasted for over 8 years...

This is a Left Panoramic Camera (PanCam) Non-linearized Full frame EDR acquired on Sol 35 of NASA - Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Spirit's mission to Gusev Crater at approximately 10:29:21 Mars Local Solar Time; camera commanded to use Filter 5 (535 nm).

This NASA - Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Spirit Original b/w frame has been additionally processed and then colorized in Natural Colors (such as the colors that a perfect human eye - or an Electronic Eye - would actually perceive if someone were on the Surface of Mars, near the Rover "Spirit", and then looked towards the Horizon and Sky), by using an original technique created - and, in time, dramatically improved - by the Lunar Explorer Italia Team. Different colors, as well as different shades of the same color, mean, among others, the existence of different Elements on the Surface of Mars, each having a different Albedo (---> Reflectivity) and Chemical Composition.

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