NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander: Exploring the arctic plains of Mars

NASA’s latest Mars surface pictures

  • Here the image is converted to full colour, showing red Martian ‘soil’.

  • This black and white image shows a region of polygonal cracking in the Martian ground. This cracking occurs in a similar fashion in the icy ground of the Arctic regions of Earth.

  • This is one of the first images broadcast from the Phoenix after landing on the surface of Mars. It shows the tiny pebbles and polygonal cracking of the Martian landscape.

  • Another self-check is performed on the octagonal solar panels that adorn the lander’s side to provide energy. These solar panels are critical for providing enough power for the lander to complete its 90 day mission.

  • Photographed by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, this picture shows the Phoenix Mars Lander on its final descent on to the red planet.

  • This image shows the desolate terrain of the Martian Arctic Plains, with continuous polygonal cracking to be seen in the distance. You can find the full story on the Phoenix Lander here. Image credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/Texas A&M

  • This image has been brightened to show the landscape of Mars in the background.

  • The same image is seen here, brightened to Earth day standards.

  • The Phoenix lander photographs its own footpad to check stability. Each footpad is the size of a large dinner plate, around 30 centimetres in diameter.

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