PIA10681: First Look at Martian Arctic Plains
Target Name: Mars
Is a satellite of: Sol (our sun)
Mission: Phoenix
Spacecraft: Phoenix Mars Lander
Instrument: Surface Stereo Imager (SSI)
Product Size: 1024 x 1024 pixels (width x height)
Produced By: University of Arizona
Full-Res TIFF: PIA10681.tif (1.05 MB)
Full-Res JPEG: PIA10681.jpg (124.9 kB)

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Original Caption Released with Image:

This image, one of the first captured by NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander, shows the vast plains of the northern polar region of Mars. The flat landscape is strewn with tiny pebbles and shows polygonal cracking, a pattern seen widely in Martian high latitudes and also observed in permafrost terrains on Earth. The polygonal cracking is believed to have resulted from seasonal contraction and expansion of surface ice.

Phoenix touched down on the Red Planet at 4:53 p.m. Pacific Time (7:53 Eastern Time), May 25, 2008, in an arctic region called Vastitas Borealis, at 68 degrees north latitude, 234 degrees east longitude.

This image was taken shortly after landing by the spacecraft's Surface Stereo Imager.

The Phoenix Mission is led by the University of Arizona, Tucson, on behalf of NASA. Project management of the mission is by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. Spacecraft development is by Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver.

Photojournal Note: As planned, the Phoenix lander, which landed May 25, 2008 23:53 UTC, ended communications in November 2008, about six months after landing, when its solar panels ceased operating in the dark Martian winter.

Image Credit:
NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

Image Addition Date:
2008-05-26