Columbia Hills Flyover 2.0; Awesome Meridiani Mosaics

by Nancy Atkinson on September 23, 2009


About 18 months ago Doug Ellison from UnmannedSpaceflight.com created a flyover of the Columbia Hills on Mars using data from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Spirit, the Mars rover. He’s now done a 2.0 version to mark Spirit’s recent birthday — she’s been on Mars for 3 Martian years. Ellison made the skies a little hazier to mark the moderate dust storm that occurred recently and put Spirit in her current predicament, stuck in the sandy soil near Home Plate. Additionally, he added music and an intro credit page to avoid it being badly credited, (which happened when it was posted on Astronomy Picture of the Day in May of 2008) as well as a map at the end to show where Spirit has been all this time. If you saw the first version, this one is even better. If you haven’t seen it before, prepare to be amazed.

Not to leave out Opportunity, below you’ll find some incredible drive mosaics put together by James Canvin, also from UnmannedSpaceflight.com. Oppy is putting the pedal to the metal to reach Endeavour Crater and is covering a lot of territory these days.

Opportunity's drive mosaic from sol 2009.  Compiled by James Cavin.  Used by permission.

Opportunity's drive mosaic from sol 2009. Compiled by James Cavin. Used by permission.


This looks like a very interesting location, with rocks and scarps and all sorts of interesting stuff littering the dunes. James told me this mosaic was created with three different images and colorized by using R21 filters (red & blue then with artifical green made by mixing the two).
Opportunity drive mosiac from sol 2011.  Compiled by James Canvin.  Used by permission.

Opportunity drive mosiac from sol 2011. Compiled by James Canvin. Used by permission.

Canvin told me that the crater near the center-left, off in the distance, is Nautilus. The rocks in the near-field are the surroundings to Nereus crater to which is Oppy was right next to and is out of frame to the left. The rover has already driven in the direction of the center of the image (this is a ‘drive direction’ mosaic after all!), and a much larger mosaic of this is still being downlinked from the rover, which should be even more spectacular.

Sources: Doug Ellison, Martian Vistas

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

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