It was January 4, 2004 when NASA’s Spirit set down on Mars and took some incredible images of it’s surroundings, including the image featured in this post.
The 360 degree image pictured above was snapped just a few moments after the first of two rovers set down on Mars. This image is just one of those snapped by the two rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, that helped to garner a better understanding of the planet Mars.
It certainly doesn’t seem like 10 years ago that Spirit landed at the Columbia Memorial Station (the second of the rovers, Opportunity, would land three weeks later) in an effort to find evidence of water. The mission was set to last for just 90 days during which NASA hoped to find evidence of water on the red planet. In total, Spirit traveled 4.8 miles across the planet, climbed slopes of 30 degrees and managed to snap more than 124,000 pictures. During the trip, Spirit looked over 92 individual targets, brushing them to prepare them for analysis using a microscope and spectrometer.
So what happened to Spirit? After six years the rover became stuck in the planet’s sandy surface and became completely immobilized. Before it became permanently lodged in the sand, it made records for rover longevity. Although immobilized, Spirit still made communications with NASA until it was rendered defunct on March 22, 2010. Spirit’s sister rover, Opportunity, is still live and communicating with NASA as it continues the search for water as well as life on Mars!