Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2004 July 19
See Explanation. Go online for the highest resolution available.

Attacking Mars
Credit: Mars Exploration Rover Mission, JPL, NASA

Explanation: The Spirit rover attacked Mars again late last month. What might look, above, like a military attack, though, was once again just a scientific one - Spirit was instructed to closely inspect some interesting rocks near Columbia Hills. Spirits Front Hazard Avoidance Camera captured the rover's Instrument Deployment Device above as it guided the Microscopic Imager to get a closer look at a rock dubbed Breadbox. Images taken by the Microscopic Imager show a rock surface consistent with basalt corroded by ancient groundwater. Structures with similar origins can be found, for example, in the Western Desert of Egypt on Earth. The above picture taken on June 30, the 175th Martian day that the Spirit rover has been on the red planet.

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman. Specific rights apply.
A service of: ASD at NASA/GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.

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