Spirit-Eye View

Toward the East
Toward the East

This image shows the view from Spirit looking east from its position at the base of a low plateau called “Home Plate” (rising to the right). Loose soil and the loss of one of its six wheels has been posing a difficulty for the rover, and it has spent the past several days trying to maneuver a route around the eastern edge of the plateau towards its next study destinations in the south: a mound called “Von Braun” and a 150-foot-wide depression called “Goddard”.

The hills in the far distance are a part of a ridge system called “Mitcheltree Ridge”.

Some of Spirit’s tracks can be seen on the mound of soil on the left.

The Home Plate area – the plateau itself is about the size of a baseball field – has proven significant in that it contains a lot of silicate-rich soil. On Earth, such concentrations of silicates are found in the presence of hot springs and steam vents, indicating that this area on Mars probably had similar environments at one time. This greatly increases the chances that this area was once habitable, and that life may have evolved here or in other areas like it.

This image was spliced together from three separate raw image files. I colored the final version to approximate natural ambient color on Mars, based on other true-color photos. Click to see a larger version.

Image credit NASA/JPL/J.Major

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