Summer turned to autumn for the Phoenix Mars Lander on December 26, 2008. This image, taken on December 21 by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, shows the lander during the last waning days of northern hemisphere summer.
The image was acquired at 3:31 pm Local Mars Solar Time when the sun was 14 degrees above the horizon. The image is false color, but appears bluish due to atmospheric haze. Frost is not yet apparent here during the middle afternoon. This is the first image targeted to the lander since it ceased activity, and is one of a series of images designed to monitor the Phoenix landing site for changes over time due to atmospheric haze, deposition or removal of dust, or formation of frost as winter approaches.
The image is a portion of a HiRISE image catalogued as ESP_011268_2485/ and centered at 68.2 degrees north latitude, 234.3 degrees east longitude.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, is the prime contractor for the project and built the spacecraft. The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment is operated by the University of Arizona, Tucson, and the instrument was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colo.