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Last Updated: Friday, 9 January, 2004, 16:06 GMT
Spirit's 'postcards' from Mars
The US space agency's (Nasa) robotic probe Spirit has been sending back extraordinary images from the site of its historic landing on Mars.

View colour 360 degree panorama from Spirit's landing site

First colour panorama

Spirit sent back a full colour panorama of its landing site.

All the images downloaded from the probe will allow the Nasa science team to better understand the site where the vehicle has touched down.

The information can then be used to plan Spirit's drives across the surface.

The pictures will determine where the rover goes

First colour image

The image was actually a mosaic of 12 separate pictures shot by the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit's panoramic camera, or Pancam.

It is the highest resolution picture ever taken of another planet.

"The surfaces of the rocks are remarkably smooth and the shapes are quite varied; some of them quite rounded and some of them quite angular," said lead scientist Dr Steven Squyres.

View 360 degree panorama from Spirit's landing site

First 3D image

This is a version of the first 3-D stereo image from the rover's navigation camera, showing the view from the left of two cameras on board the Spirit rover.

Click "open", and then click and drag the image to view the full panorama.

Spirit viewed from above

Spirit from above

This mosaic image taken by the navigation camera on Spirit has been reprocessed to project a clear overhead view of the rover on the surface of Mars.

The camera is mounted on the top of the pole visible in the bottom left corner of the image.

Mosiac image of Spirit and Mars horizon, seen from overhead

Red Planet's horizon

This mosaic image has been made up to show Spirit from overhead, surrounded by a 360 degree view of the surface of Mars and the horizon visible from the landing site.

The airbags, launch pad and solar panels on the Mars explorer are also visible.

Craters on Mars viewed from Spirit during its descent

View from descent

This image was taken at an altitude of 1,985 metres above Mars, as the lander descended towards the planet's surface.

It shows a view of Gusev Crater, a basin the size of Connecticut in which the landing site is located.

Several small impact craters can also be seen.

Spirit's view of the Sun

The Sun from Mars

The bright white dot in this image taken by the panorama camera on board Spirit is the Sun, used to help point the rover's high-gain antenna toward Earth and send back its data.

The inset shows the Sun magnified five times.

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