This image indicated NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander landing area on Mars to a topographical map indicating relative elevations in the landing region prior to landing. The elevations could have affected wind patterns at the site.
Add image to your album
Email this page Post this page to your Facebook wall Tweet this page

Wind-Related Topography in Phoenix's Region of Mars (Animation)

Click here for animation of PIA11029
Click on image for animation

This movie shifts from a global zoom indicating the Phoenix landing area on Mars to a topographical map indicating relative elevations in the landing region. The elevations could affect wind patterns at the site.

In particular, Phoenix is in a broad, shallow valley. The edge of the valley, about 150 meters (500 feet) above the floor, may provide enough of a slope to the east of Phoenix to explain winds coming from the east during nights at the site. Cooler, denser air could be sinking down the slope and toward the lander.

Atmospheric scientists on the Phoenix team are analyzing wind patterns to distiguish effects of nearby topography from larger-scale movement of the atmosphere in the polar region.

The elevation information for this topographical mapping comes from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter on NASA's Mars Global Surveyor orbiter. The blue-coded area is the valley floor. Orange and yellow indicate relatively higher elevations.

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. JPL managed the Mars Global Surveyor mission for the NASA Science Mission Directorate.

Image details


Date added:


Mars Global Surveyor (MGS), Phoenix

Mars Global Surveyor Orbiter

Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter



Full-Res TIFF:
PIA11029.tif (0.69 MB)

Full-Res JPG:
PIA11029.jpg (0.01 MB)

Image credit: