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High quality MER Spirit picture, slide, or Duratrans backlit transparency. NASA photograph 2N145017053
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From a high point on the landscape of the "Columbia Hills," atop NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit, sit two antennas that send information to Earth. Those antennas can be seen in this image taken by Spirit on martian day, or sol, 210 (Aug. 4, 2004). The tall antenna on the left sends UHF signals (like some, but not all, signals used for television broadcasts) to orbiting spacecraft. Orbiters such as the Mars Odyssey spacecraft relay the signals to Earth.
The round, high-gain antenna on the right sends and receives X-band microwave signals (like the ones used in alarm system motion detectors and police radar guns) directly to Earth. Mission planners at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory send commands directly to the rover via the high-gain antenna.
In front of the rover, at the top of the ridge on the "West Spur" region of the Columbia Hills, is a rock outcrop dubbed "Longhorn." On the horizon is the rim of the 165-mile-wide (103-mile-wide) Gusev Crater, inside of which Spirit landed Jan. 4, 2004. This image was taken with Spirit's navigation camera.
Date Taken/Released: August 13, 2004