If you haven’t yet discovered Astronomy Picture of the Day, its an absolutely wonderful site that provides a different image every day of our universe, with explanations written by two professional astronomers, Robert Nemiroff and Jerry Bonnell. Today’s APOD post is not a picture, however, but a movie. Combining data taken from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and the Mars Rover Spirit, Doug Ellison from UnmannedSpaceflight.com created a movie that simulates a fly-over of the Columbia Hills region on Mars. Of course, the Hills were named in memory of the astronauts who died in the Columbia space shuttle accident in February 2003.
In the movie you see the rippled sand on the sides of the Hills, the peak on Husband Hill where Spirit triumphantly climbed and surveyed the amazing view, and a white-colored area back on lower ground called Home Plate that Spirit has been studying for a couple of months now. Spirit herself makes a cameo in the video, too. It’s just great fun to watch.
Well, instead just reading about it, go visit APOD to watch the movie. And stay and browse awhile: APOD boasts the largest collection of annotated astronomical images on the internet.