NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander began excavating a new trench, dubbed "Snow White," in a patch of Martian soil near the center of a polygonal surface feature, nicknamed "Cheshire Cat." The "dump pile" is located at the top of the trench, the side farthest away from the lander, and has been dubbed "Croquet Ground." The digging site has been named "Wonderland."
The trench is about 2 centimeters (.8 inches) deep and 30 centimeters (about 12 inches) long.
At this early stage of digging, the Phoenix team did not expect to find any of the white material seen in the mission's first trench, now called "Dodo-Goldilocks." That trench showed white material at a depth of about 5 centimeters (2 inches). More digging of Snow White is planned for coming sols, or Martian days.
Snow White was dug on Sol 22 (June 17, 2008) with Phoenix's Robotic Arm. This picture was acquired on the same day by the lander's Surface Stereo Imager.
This image has been enhanced to brighten shaded areas.
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.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/Texas A&M University/NASA Ames