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Sunset on Mars, 19 May 2005.

Sunset on Mars, 19 May 2005.
3 3 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 25cm


Mars Exploration Rover Spirit captured this stunning view as the sun sank below the rim of the Gusev crater. This image mosaic was taken around 6:07 on the evening of the rover's 489th Martian day, or sol. Spirit was commanded to stay awake briefly after sending that sol's data to the Mars Odyssey orbiter just before sunset. The filter combination used to take this image allows false colour images to be generated that are similar to what the human eye would see, but with the colours slightly exaggerated. Because Mars is farther from the Sun than Earth is, the Sun appears only about two-thirds the size that it appears in a sunset seen from Earth. The terrain in the foreground is the rock outcrop 'Jibsheet', a feature that Spirit investigated for several weeks. The floor of Gusev crater is visible in the distance, and the Sun is setting behind the wall of Gusev some 80 kilometres (50 miles) in the distance.

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© National Aeronautics & Space Administration / Science & Society

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