This false color image, taken by NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander's Surface Stereo Imager, was taken on the 131st Martian day, or sol, of the mission (Oct. 7, 2008). The image shows color variations of the trench, informally named "La Mancha," and reveals the ice layer beneath the soil surface. The trench's depth is about 5 centimeters deep.
The color outline of the shadow at the bottom of the image is a result of sun movement with the combined use of infrared, green, and blue filters.
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.