Ice Around Phoenix Lander Continues to Lessen in Spring
Stages in the seasonal disappearance of surface ice from the ground around the Phoenix Mars Lander are visible in these images taken on Feb. 8, 2010, (left) and Feb. 25, 2010, during springtime on northern Mars.
These views come from observations made by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experment camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter as part of an ongoing study of changes at the Phoenix site. The views cover an area about 100 meters (100 yards) wide and are products from observations catalogued as ESP_016582_2485 and ESP_016793_2485. North is toward the bottom.
Phoenix landed on Mars on May 25, 2008, and operated successfully in the Martian arctic for about two months longer than its planned three-month mission. Operations ended when waning sunlight left the solar-powered craft with insufficient energy to keep working.
The University of Arizona, Tucson, operates the High Resolution Imaging Science Experment, which was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colo. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, is the spacecraft development and integration contractor for the project. For more information about the camera, and thousands of images, visit http://hirise.lpl.arizona.edu/.
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.