Spirit Rover’s Next Steps

Mission planners for NASA’s Spirit rover on Mars are using this view from above to help plan the remainder of the robot’s travels. It shows the Columbia Hills in Gusev Crater. The picture was made by draping an image from NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor over a digital elevation model that was derived from two other images from the orbiter. As of sol 135, or May 21, 2004 on Earth, Spirit sat approximately 0.4 miles (680 meters) away from its first target at the western base of the hills, a spot informally called West Spur. The team estimates that Spirit will reach West Spur by sol 146, or June 1, 2004. Spirit will most likely remain there for about a week to study the outcrops and rocks associated with this location.