This frame from a sequence of nine images taken by the Surface Stereo Imager on NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander shows the sun rising on the morning of the lander's 101st Martian day after landing.

This sequence of nine images taken by the Surface Stereo Imager on NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander shows the sun rising on the morning of the lander's 101st Martian day after landing.

The images were taken on Sept. 5, 2008. The local solar times at the landing site for the nine images were between 1:23 a.m. and 1:41 a.m.

The landing site is on far-northern Mars, and the mission started in late northern spring. For nearly the entire first 90 Martian days of the mission, the sun never set below the horizon. As the amount of sunshine each day declined steadily after that, so has the amount of electricity available for the solar-powered spacecraft.

The Phoenix Mission is led by the University of Arizona, Tucson, on behalf of NASA. Project management of the mission is by JPL, Pasadena, Calif. Spacecraft development was 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.

View all Images