NASA Posts Panorama To Celebrate Rover's 1,000th Martian Day

Washington - NASA's durable Mars Exploration Rover Spirit finished its 1,000th Martian day October 26, continuing a successful mission originally planned for 90 Martian days.

Each Martian day is longer than an Earth day, lasting 24 hours, 39 minutes, 35 seconds. That means Spirit has been on Mars about 1,026 Earth days.

NASA released a 360-degree color panorama produced from the most detailed imaging yet completed by Spirit, or its twin Opportunity, that shows rugged terrain of the robot's location amid a range of hills, according to an October 25 NASA press release.

The vista, called the "McMurdo Panorama," comes from Spirit's panoramic camera.

Spirit has examined the surroundings for several months while perched with a tilt to the north to collect maximum solar energy during winter in Mars' southern hemisphere.

The rover team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California plans to resume driving the rover in coming weeks as Martian spring approaches.

Spirit landed inside Mars' Gusev Crater on January 3, 2004.

The McMurdo Panorama and the full text of the press release are available on the NASA Web site.

For additional information, see Science and Technology.