(PhysOrg.com) -- A new image of Spirit's underbelly is helping engineers assess the rover's current state and plan her escape from soft soil. The panoramic mosaic of multiple images was taken by the microscopic imager instrument at the end of Spirit's robotic arm--the first time that imager has been used to assess the underside and wheels of the rover. The image appears blurred because the microscopic camera was designed to focus on targets just a few centimeters in front of its optics. The imagery will assist engineers with analyses and ground-based testing to recreate the rover's conditions before testing various options for extracting it from its current location.
This panorama of images from the Spirit rover, taken on Sol 1925 (June 2, 2009), is helping engineers assess the rover's current state and plan her extraction from the soft soil in the region now called "Troy." The images were taken by Spirit's microscopic imager instrument, mounted on the end of her robotic arm.
This is the first time the microscopic imager has been used to assist in planning a rover's escape from an embedding event. The imager isn't intended to take these types of images--it is designed to focus on targets only 6 centimeters (2.4 inches) in front of its optics. As a result, the images in this mosaic are well out of focus. Yet despite the focus and the backlighting of the scene, the mosaic is still very useful for helping to assess the rover's state. The mosaic, which is rotated to show the true orientation of the rover relative to the local terrain, shows the underside of the rover, the depth to which the wheels are embedded and the terrain itself in sufficient detail.
Provided by JPL/NASA (news : web)
Explore further: Spirit Sitting Pretty On A Martian Hillock