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The Red, Red Hills of Mars
Mars Exploration Rovers - 2007 Wall Calendar

Click on the thumbnail at right for a larger preview of the entire calendar. For each of the months below, you can click on the large thumbnail to see a quarter-size preview of the actual calendar page, or the small thumbnail to see the original image at NASA's Planetary Photo Journal.

Notes:

  • The actual calendar is printed in full color at 200dpi (3500 x 2300 pixels), on 100 lb cover weight high gloss paper and wire-bound. Each page Measure 17" x 11", Measures 17" x 22" when hung on wall.
  • CafePress prints on-demand using an automated process. If there is any problem with the print quality, contact their help desk for immediate replacement.
 
Cover: Special-Effects Spirit on Husband Hill
This view from Husband Hill features Clark Hill (to the left), the Meridiani plains, and the far side of Gusev Crater. Special-Effects Spirit on Flank of A scale model of the rover was added to Sprit's actual false-color image.

Sprit sol 454 2005.4.13 PIA03231 Credit: NASA/JPL-Solar System Visualization Team

January: HiRISE Spies a Rover
When Opportunity finally arrived at the rim of Victoria crater, the newly commissioned Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter was ready to capture this amazing image from orbit some 270 kilometers above. Opportunity at Crater's 'Cape Verde'This enhanced color view, taken with the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) instrument , has enough resolution to distinguish objects only 80 centimeters across. The image is so detailed that the shape of the camera bar at the top of Opportunity's mast can be seen in its shadow, cast down and to the right of the rover; in many places, the twin tracks of the rover's wheels are visible as well.

Opportunity sol 957 2006.10.03 PIA08816 Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

February: “Creeping with awe to the verge ...”
Opportunity finally reached Victoria Crater in September 2006, after traveling almost 10 kilometers over 21 months. This image superimposes an artist's concept of the Mars Exploration RoverThis approximately true color view, with an artist's concept of the rover superimposed to give a sense of scale, looks north from "Duck Bay" towards the dramatic cliff of layered rock called "Cape Verde." The rim of the crater is composed of alternating promontories, rocky points towering approximately 70 meters above the crater floor, and recessed alcoves. The bottom of the crater is covered by sand that has been shaped into ripples by the Martian wind. The vista extends for more than 400 meters to the far side of the crater.

Opportunity sol 952 2006.9.28 PIA08814 Credit: NASA/JPL-Solar System Visualization Team

Quote: Dr. David Livingstone, on the discovery of Victoria Falls, 151 years earlier (November, 1855).

March: Virtual Rover in the Berry Patch
This photo-realistic, but  false color, image shows what a Mars Exploration Rover would look like on Mars. ASU-IPF-2454The background image shows the dark soil, ancient rock and small spherules ("blueberries") inside Endurance Crater. The hematite (iron oxide, or rust) blueberries aren’t really blue – they’re actually grey – nor are they the size of blueberries – they're only around 3 millimeters in diameter. The 2 meter high Opportunity rover is superimposed at the correct scale. Dan Maas created the excruciatingly-detailed digital model of the Mars rovers based on blueprints from NASA/JPL, including virtually everything on the real rovers down to every last nut, bolt, and wire.

Opportunity sol 134 2004.6.09 ASU-IPF-2454 Image Credit: Mars Exploration Rover Mission, Cornell, JPL, NASA; Rover Model: D. Maas; Synthetic Image: Z. Gorjian, K. Kuramura, M. Stetson, E. De Jong

April: Opportunity in Purgatory
While motoring across the Meridiani plain on its 446th sol, Opportunity ground to a halt as it dug itself into what came to be called 'Purgatory Dune'. figure 1 for PIA07922: Figure 1: Coding for Information About Relative ElevationsThe elongated dune, or ripple, is about one-third of a meter tall and 2.5 meters wide. The colors in this vertical projection show the relative elevations - red areas are about 70 centimeters higher than the green. "All six wheels were just about completely buried," said MER Principal Investigator Steve Squyres. Freeing the rover took more than five weeks of planning, testing, and carefully monitored driving. The drivers finally decided the best exit strategy was, as Squyres described it, to "put it in reverse and gun it."

Opportunity sol 446 2005.4.26 PIA07922 Credit: NASA/JPL

May: Dunes and Outcrops on the Rim of Erebus
As it crossed the Meridiani plains, Opportunity paused for this self-portrait at the rim of the wide but shallow "Erebus" crater. Bird's-Eye View of Opportunity at 'Erebus' (Vertical)The false-color image emphasizes differences in composition among the finely-layered outcrop rocks, wind ripples, and small cobbles and grains. The same view is shown at left in approximate true color but as a polar projection. The outcrop is crisscrossed by small troughs only inches deep, which the team's geologists determined could not have been formed by wind erosion or volcanism. The only possibility, they concluded, was that they were created by flowing water in the far distance past, 2 billion or more years ago, when Mars might - just might - have been warm and wet.

Opportunity sol 652-663 2005.11.23 PIA03273 Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell

June: King of the (Husband) Hill

This approximate true color picture is a small part of the 360 degree "Everest Panorama" from the summit of Husband Hill. Sprit’s meandering, crisscrossing wheel tracks trace its route across this broad plateau of rock outcrops and windblown drifts. Near the center of the picture, a dust devil swoops across the plains of Gusev Crater, about 100 meters below.

'Everest' Panorama; 20-20 Vision

Spirit sol 581 2005.8.21 PIA03095 Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell

July: El Dorado's Frozen Ripples
This is an exaggerated false color rendering of the "El Dorado" dunes, a field of dark, rippled sand that is visible from space as a dark spot on the side of Husband Hill. Analysis showed the wind-blown sand is unusually "well-sorted, well-rounded and olivine rich." The waves don't change much over time, but their color and brightness do change as dust is blown off or accumulated. The inset image above shows the approximate true color.

False Color Thumb

Sol 708-710 2005.12.30 Sol708A_P2267_L257F Credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell - Image mosaicking: Pancam team (Jim Bell) - Calibration and color rendering: CCC and the Pancam team (Jim Bell) - Enhanced colors and sky rendering: Eric Hartwell

August: The Red, Red Hills of Mars
This exaggerated, false color view from the crest of Husband Hill overlooks the Columbia Hills and the surrounding plains of Gusev Crater, about 100 meters below. The inner basin area contains a broad range of interesting geological targets, including the dark, circular feature dubbed "Home Plate". The rocks and geologic characteristics of Home Plate, probably an eroded-over volcano, are like no others found by either rover so far.

Spirit Sol 592-598 2005.9.2 Raw images: NASA/JPL; Panorama by Midnight Mars Browser; Image and color enhancement by Eric Hartwell  http://www.ehartwell.com/calendars

September: Rover on the Half-Pipe: Opportunity at Burns Cliff

Burns Cliff is an exposure of bedrock and ejecta on the southern rim of Endurance Crater. Synthetic image of the Opportunity Mars Exploration Rover inside on 'Burns Cliff' produced using The meteorite impact broke up the bedrock, creating the ejecta blocks at the top of the wall. The blocks were then weathered by sand, wind and water, suggesting that the Meridiani area was covered by a shallow sea or lake that went through wet and dry episodes.  This is an approximate true color image, with a virtual Opportunity rover superimposed to scale, based on the size of the rover tracks.

Opportunity sol 298-294 2004.11.13 PIA03241 Credit: NASA/JPL-Solar System Visualization Team

October: Endurance Crater’s Dazzling Dunes
This exaggerated false-color view shows the dune field at the bottom of Endurance crater. False Color ThumbThe dust (a lighter color) accumulates near the dune crests, while hematite-rich spherules (which appear blue in this scene), tend to rest in troughs with more gradual slopes. Sinuous tendrils of sand less than 1 meter high extend from the main dune field toward the rover.

Opportunity sol 211 2004.8.27 Sol211B_P2424_L257F Credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell - Mosaicking: Pancam team (J.R. Skok, Jim Bell) - Calibration & color rendering: CCC and Pancam team (Jim Bell)

November: Sunset from Low Ridge
A spectacular field of sand ripples separates Spirit from the slopes of Husband Hill. The rover arrived at this position on "Low Ridge" some 200 sols after it started its descent from the peak. Looking back to the north, Spirit acquired this panorama while the Sun was low in the sky late in the afternoon. Approximate true color for the landscape was added from the McMurdo Panorama, PIA08527, and for the sky from the sunset view, PIA07997.

This image shows a sweeping black-and-white panorama of the rounded, knob-like peak of

Spirit sol 813 2006.4.17 PIA08423 Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/Eric Hartwell

December: A Moment Frozen in Time
Spirit captured this stunning view as the Sun sank below the rim of Gusev crater some 80 km away. A Moment Frozen in TimeSpirit was commanded to stay awake briefly after sending that sol's data to the Mars Odyssey orbiter just before sunset. Because Mars is farther from the Sun than the Earth is, the Sun appears only about two-thirds the size that it appears in a sunset seen from the Earth. The colors are as close as possible to what a human would see.

Spirit sol 489 2005.5.19 PIA07997 Credit: NASA/JPL/Texas A&M/Cornell

 
About the Mars Exploration Rovers
The names for the  Mars Exploration Rovers - Spirit and Opportunity - were selected from nearly 10,000 entries in a contest sponsored by NASA, the Lego Company, and the Planetary Society. 9-year-old Sofi Collis, in the winning essay, wrote, "In America, I can make all my dreams come true. Thank you for the 'Spirit' and the 'Opportunity.'"

The two identical rovers were originally thought to be able to trek up to 100 meters a day ("sol") across the martian surface, but on March 31, 2005 Opportunity traveled a distance of 220 metersin a single day. This is farther than the 1997 Mars Pathfinder rover Sojourner''s travel throughout its entire mission. Each rover carries a sophisticated set of instruments – the Athena Science Payload – that has allowed it to search for evidence of liquid water in the planet's past.

On June 10, 2003, the first Mars Exploration Rover (MER) spacecraft Spirit was launched on a Delta II rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida. After a seven month flight, it entered the martian atmosphere in January 3, 2004. The second lander and rover, Opportunity, followed on January 24.

The rovers each had a spectacular landing, similar to that of the Pathfinder spacecraft. After entering the atmosphere, the rovers deployed their parachutes and airbags, hitting the surface with enough force to bounce back up a hundred feet in the martian air. After finally settling down, the lander petals opened to reveal the rovers folded inside like origami. The rovers had to unfold themselves carefully, deploying their camera masts, antennae, wheels, and solar arrays.

The landing portion of the mission featured a design that is dramatically different from that of Mars Pathfinder. Where Pathfinder had a lander and the small Sojourner rover, each MER spacecraft carried just a large, long-range rover. The rover has a mass of nearly 180 kilograms (about 380 pounds).

Each rover can take a 360-degree visible color and infrared image panorama. Athena scientists can choose rock and soil targets and command the rovers to explore their surroundings.

The landers have long since been left behind, as both Spirit and Opportunity have searched out enticing clues in the soil.

When a rover reaches a target, its multi-jointed arm deploys and the target is examined with a microscope and two spectrometers. The "RAT" (Rock Abrasion Tool) is used to expose fresh rock surfaces for study. Images and spectra of interesting rocks and soils are taken daily.

It was originally believed that the rovers would only have the solar power capability to last for around 90 sols, or the early summer of 2004, but regular "cleaning events" and careful maneuvering have allowed them to continue for more than a martian year (670 sols).

Image and Text Credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell
 

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