Today marks Spirit’s 1,000th martian sol, or day, on the Red Planet. Scientists with NASA’s Mars Exploration Program will mark this occasion with a panoramic image.
The 360° panorama, dubbed “McMurdo Panorama,” is the most detailed image yet captured by either rover. The robotic explorer captured the total view over a period from April 18 through August 16, 2006. Spirit’s panoramic camera captured the surrounding rugged terrain and hills. Spirit is now parked, angled northward, to maximize the energy supply for its solar panels during the martian winter. It will begin driving again in the martian spring.
During October, the rover team will minimize operations for both rovers as the Red Planet passes nearly behind the Sun from our view. From this position, radio communication with Spirit and Opportunity is more difficult than normal.
The long-lived explorer has far exceeded expectations. Scientists originally expected the mission to last 90 sols.