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The Bruce Murray Space Image Library

A dusty start to Spirit's winter

Filed under pretty pictures, Spirit, Mars Exploration Rovers, spacecraft, Mars

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A dusty start to Spirit's winter This image juxtaposes two "deck pans" captured by the Pancam instrument on Spirit at different times in the mission. On the left is the self-portrait from the top of Husband Hill, when Spirit's deck was nearly as clean as the day the rover landed. On the right is a view taken in October of 2007, following the summer's dust storm. Dust from the sky has settled on both the rover deck and the surrounding landscape, coloring the rover the same rust color as the dirt around it. The dust-covered solar cells cannot be able to generate as much power as when they were clean. Spirit survived the following Martian winter despite the high dust levels, and the rover team got very useful practice surviving through periods of very low power during the height of the dust storm. Now, though, even more dust may be falling on Spirit.

NASA / JPL-Caltech / Cornell

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