Polygons at the Phoenix Landing Site
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Polygons at the Phoenix Landing Site
PSP_008301_2480  Science Theme: Future Exploration/Landing Sites
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This image is one of many that have been taken over the Phoenix landing site. The Phoenix lander launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida in August 2007 and will reach the surface of Mars on 25 May 2008.

One of the reasons this region of Mars was selected for the landing site is based on the overall lack of rocks that could prove hazardous to the lander. Among the many science goals, Phoenix will analyze the surface dust as well as dig into an ice-rich layer which is predicted to lie within inches of the Martian surface.

The polygons are most likely the result of temperature oscillations which cause this ice to crack resulting in the surface that is visible today.

Written by: Mindi Searls   (3 June 2008)

This is a stereo pair with PSP_008143_2480.

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Acquisition date:04 May 2008 Local Mars time:14:23
Latitude (centered):67.974° Longitude (East):234.863°
Range to target site:338.0 km (211.3 miles)Original image scale range:33.8 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~101 cm across are resolved
Map projected scale:25 cm/pixelMap projection:Polarstereographic
Emission angle:21.8° Phase angle:69.3°
Solar incidence angle:50°, with the Sun about 40° above the horizon Solar longitude:67.3°, Northern Spring

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For information about NASA and agency programs on the Web, visit: http://www.nasa.gov. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems is the prime contractor for the project and built the spacecraft. The HiRISE camera was built by Ball Aerospace and Technology Corporation and is operated by the University of Arizona. The image data were processed using the U.S. Geological Survey’s ISIS3 software.