The Surface Stereo Imager camera aboard NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander acquired a series of images of the laser beam in the Martian night sky. Bright spots in the beam are reflections from ice crystals in the low level ice-fog.
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Phoenix's Laser Beam in Action on Mars

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The Surface Stereo Imager camera aboard NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander acquired a series of images of the laser beam in the Martian night sky. Bright spots in the beam are reflections from ice crystals in the low level ice-fog. The brighter area at the top of the beam is due to enhanced scattering of the laser light in a cloud. The Canadian-built lidar instrument emits pulses of laser light and records what is scattered back.

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.

Image details

ID#:
PIA11211

Date added:
2008-09-30

Target:
Mars

Mission:
Phoenix

Spacecraft:
Phoenix Mars Lander

Instruments:
Surface Stereo Imager (SSI)

Rating:



Views:
1,067

Full-Res TIFF:
PIA11211.tif (1.05 MB)

Full-Res JPG:
PIA11211.jpg (0.02 MB)

Image credit:
NASA/JPL-Caltech/University Arizona/Texas A&M University