This image was acquired by NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander's Surface Stereo Imager on the 31st Martian day of the mission, or Sol 31 (June 26, 2008), after the May 25, 2008 landing. This image shows the trenches informally called "Snow White 1" (left), "Snow White 2" (right), and within the Snow White 2 trench, the smaller scraping area called "Snow White 3." The Snow White 3 scraped area is about 5 centimeters (2 inches) deep. The dug and scraped areas are within the diggiing site called "Wonderland."
The Snow White trenches and scraping prove that scientists can take surface soil samples, subsurface soil samples, and icy samples all from one unit. Scientists want to test samples to determine if some ice in the soil may have been liquid in the past during warmer climate cycles.
The Phoenix Mission is led by the University of Arizona, Tucson, on behalf of NASA. Project management of the mission is led 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.