NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit welcomed the beginning of 2006 on Earth by taking this striking panorama of intricately rippled sand deposits in Gusev Crater on Mars.

Click on the image for Intricately Rippled Sand Deposits (QTVR)
Click on the image for Intricately Rippled Sand Deposits (QTVR)

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit welcomed the beginning of 2006 on Earth by taking this striking panorama of intricately rippled sand deposits in Gusev Crater on Mars. This is an approximate true-color rendering of the "El Dorado" ripple field provided by Spirit over the New Year's holiday weekend. The view spans about 160 degrees in azimuth from left to right and consists of images acquired by Spirit's panoramic camera on Spirit's 708th and 710th Martian days, or sols, (Dec. 30, 2005 and Jan. 1, 2006). Spirit used the Pancam's 750-nanometer, 530-nanometer and 430-nanometer filters to capture the colors on Mars. Scientists have eliminated seams between individual frames in the sky portion of the mosaic to better simulate the vista a person standing on Mars would see. Spirit spent several days acquiring images, spectral data, and compositional and mineralogical information about these large sand deposits before continuing downhill toward "Home Plate."

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