The Robotic Arm Camera on NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander took this image on Oct. 18, 2008, during the 142nd Martian day, or sol, since landing. The flat patch in the center of the image has the informal name "Holy Cow," based on researchers' reaction when they saw the initial image of it only a few days after the May 25, 2008 landing. Researchers first saw this flat patch in an image taken by the Robotic Arm Camera on May 30, the fifth Martian day of the mission.
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.