A Fairy-Tale Landscape
Click on image for animation
Fun, fairy-tale nicknames have been assigned to features in this animated view of the workspace reachable by the robotic arm of NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander. For example, "Sleepy Hollow" denotes a trench and "Headless" designates a rock.
A "National Park," marked by purple text and a purple arrow, has been set aside for protection until scientists and engineers have tested the operation of the robotic scoop. First touches with the scoop will be to the left of the "National Park" line.
Scientists use such informal names for easy identification of features of interest during the mission.
In this view, rocks are circled in yellow, other areas of interest in green. The images were taken by the lander's 7-foot mast camera, called the Surface Stereo Imager.
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.