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Go Spirit!

For quite a while now the Mars Exploration Rover “Spirit”‘s surroundings have been a little… hmm, how can I say this without being rude… “uninspiring”; the rover has been skirting around the edge of Homeplate for what seems like a lifetime, and the view has been pretty much this every day…

lessti

… as she has trundled down a small valley between Homeplate and a ridge to its west. Nothing much has changed… rock… another rok… ooh, look, another rock…

Well, yesterday the view changed. Dramatically. Up ahead, Spirit can now see this

r2

That is “Von Braun”, a rather exotic-looking mound that has a cap of what looks like harder material on top of it, material that looks a little, to some, like the stuff Homeplate itself is made of. Hmmm. What is it? An ancient mini-volcano? A vent of some kind? A weird uplift feature? We don’t know yet. But Spirit is going to drive over to it and take a good look, so we’ll have a better idea soon.

So, at last, Spirit is ready to do some real sight-seeing again! Keep watching the MER picture websites – and checking back here, of course – because the images that come back in the next few days are going to be very exciting, I think..!

To finish with, I’ve taken that raw image and added some colour to make it look a little more, well, martian… 🙂 Just click on it for a full size view. NOT claiming it’s “accurate” or “realistic”, just pretty!

image1bn2

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