January 02, 2009
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 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.