Click on image for animation
This is an animation of the Canadian-built meteorological station's lidar, which was successfully activated on Sol 2. The animation shows how the lidar is activated by first opening its dust cover, then emitting rapid pulses of light (resembling a brilliant green laser) into the Martian atmosphere. Some of the light then bounces off particles in the atmosphere, and is reflected back down to the lidar's telescope. This allows the lidar to detect dust, clouds and fog.
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.