Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
2021 May 21
Explanation: Expansive Utopia Planitia on Mars is strewn with rocks and boulders in this 1976 image. Constructed from the Viking 2 lander's colour and black and white image data, the scene approximates the appearance of the high northern martian plain to the human eye. For scale, the prominent rounded rock near centre is about 20 centimetres (just under 8 inches) across. Farther back on the right side of the frame the a dark angular boulder spans about 1.5 metres (5 feet). Also in view are two trenches dug by the lander's sampler arm, the ejected protective shroud that covered the soil collector head, and one of the lander's dust covered footpads at the lower right. On May 14, China’s Zhurong Mars rover successfully touchdown on Mars and has returned the first images of` its landing site in Utopia Planitia.
Authors & editors:
Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.