June 03, 2009
A new image of Spirit's underbelly is helping engineers assess the rover's current state and plan her escape from soft soil. The panoramic mosaic of multiple images was taken by the microscopic imager instrument at the end of Spirit's robotic arm--the first time that imager has been used to assess the underside and wheels of the rover. The image appears blurred because the microscopic camera was designed to focus on targets just a few centimeters in front of its optics. The imagery will assist engineers with analyses and ground-based testing to recreate the rover's conditions before testing various options for extracting it from its current location.
The full image can be seen at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/missions/mer/images.cfm?id=2324 .