The Phoenix Mission, slated for launch in August 2007, is the first project in NASA's openly competed program of Mars Scout missions. The Phoenix lander is currently housed in a 100,000-class clean room at Lockheed Martin Space Systems' facilities near Denver, Colo. Shown here, the lander is contained inside the backshell portion of the aeroshell (with the heat shield removed). The lander is sitting in an inverted or upside-down position, with the underside of the lander facing up. The lander's "legs" are not yet attached. Work on the lander will continue in late 2005, when the Phoenix team will make specific modifications and prepare for assembly, test and launch operations to get underway in spring 2006.
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.