Razor-sharp from a distance of 160 million kilometers

Spirit’ sends first color image to Earth, which is the best Mars color photo so far in terms of resolution

After NASA presented one of the first images of ‘Spirit’ to the public on Sunday (cf. storm of excitement at NASA) and then followed up on Monday with a black-and-white panoramic image taken with 3-D technology in the first hours after the Mars Mobile landed over the weekend, the latter released the first of ‘Spirit’ yesterday "shot" Color image. For the user with 3-D-glasses ‘Spirit’ will send a whole series of color photos of the red planet to home. Everyone can see the pragnance of the material for himself, if he has a pair of functional stereo glasses.

With 3-D glasses or. stereo glasses, the first 3-D panorama image will be particularly effective

Who looked in the summer of the last year to late or early hour to the southeast, could not overlook it. The fourth planet of our solar system, named after the Roman god of war, shone brighter than all the stars in the constellation of Aquarius.

Forever a mystery

In the history of mankind, the Red Planet has rarely gone so close to "Touch" with the Earth as in the summer of 2003. When Mars approached the Earth for the last time up to a good 55 degrees.757.930 kilometers approached, the astronomy was not yet even in its infancy. The last one who had the chance to admire Mars from this distance was our archaic relative Homo neanderthalensis, but it will always remain a mystery whether he – with his gaze turned towards the sky – was able to see the then, at least for a while, rough surface of Mars "Point of Light" consciously perceived in the night sky. This was about 60 years ago.000 years.

Today, a good 60.000 years later, the Red Planet, which in the meantime is already 160 million kilometers away from the Earth, once again brings itself to mind in a most colorful way. This time, however, not in the firmament, but via the Internet. Thanks to the US space probe Spirit, which has been on Mars for four days now and will be transmitting spectacular images to Earth day after day, Mars is now even reaching the home PC in 3D quality.

Unmatched quality

Because since yesterday, the U.S. robot has been waiting with a recording of so far "unrivaled quality and resolution" as NASA scientist James Bell clarified on Tuesday in the Californian Pasadena in the context of a press conference during a presentation. He presented an image that is composed of twelve individual images and that is generated by the probe’s own "Panoramic Camera" was recorded. The photo is of such high quality that NASA has been able to reproduce individual sections of it. Even rock veins on single chunks and little stones on the surface of the Red Planet could be made visible. The colors came very close to reality, said Bell. According to this, Mars is rather brownish and over-saturated with bluish stones. The images are "three or four times better" than any previously taken on Mars, Bell is pleased. The resolution is much closer to the human eye. Processing will improve the quality even further, he says.

The first ‘Spirit’ color image from Mars is the "sharpest" of all times

It will take up to a week for the stored files to be transmitted to Earth, Bell emphasized. Nevertheless, the robot takes virtually every opportunity to send images, most of which have already been reviewed as previews. From the individual motifs, the experts want to assemble the first color panoramic view of Mars. "Spirit" has already recorded a full color panoramic view, according to NASA. More than a tenth of them have already been transmitted to Earth.

"Quantum physicist" George Bush

At the moment, the Mars robot sends bits and bytes directly to Earth via an on-board antenna. Sometimes, however, the data is transferred via the U.S. Mars orbiters or Mars Global Surveyor "Mars Odyssey" or Mars Global Surveyor, which allow for much coarser transmission rates. Already on Monday, NASA presented to the public a black and white panoramic image taken with 3D technology in the first hours after the landing of the Mars mobile at the weekend. Visible in the photo is a depression in the foreground where experts recognize a meteorite crater. By the way, in the left half of the picture you can see the very low sun.

As NASA confirmed, yesterday also U.S. President George W. Bush announced that the meteorite had hit the Earth. Bush sent his telephonic congratulations to the Mars team in Pasadena. President Bush is in love "the excitement of all Americans about the dramatic images" his spokesman Scott McClellan stressed in Washington. Meanwhile, JPL Director Charles Elachi reportedly said, to laughter from reporters in Pasadena, that by the end of the phone call with Bush he had "also discussed a bit about quantum physics" have.

Here you can download the color picture in best resolution, here the black and white picture

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