This view is a polar projection that combines more than 500 exposures taken by the Surface Stereo Imager camera on NASA's Mars Phoenix Lander and projects them as if looking down from above.
The black circle on the spacecraft is where the camera itself is mounted on the lander, out of view in images taken by the camera. North is toward the top of the image. The lander's meteorology mast extends above the southwest horzon and is topped by the telltale wind gauge.
The ground surface around the lander has polygonal patterning similar to patterns in permafrost areas on Earth. The landing site is at 68.22 degrees north latitude, 234.25 degrees east longitude on Mars.
This view in approximately true color comprises more than 100 different Stereo Surface Imager pointings, with images taken through three different filters at each pointing. The images were taken throughout the period from the 13th Martian day, or sol, after landing to the 47th sol (June 5 through July 12, 2008). The lander's Robotic Arm is cut off in this mosaic view because component images were taken when the arm was out of the frame.
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.