Phoenix’s Red Planet Selfie - Nasa daily picture for August 10 (2023)

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Phoenix Lander Self Portrait on Mars, Vertical Projection

NASA’s Mars Phoenix Lander gathered images of itself for this selfie from June 5 through July 12, 2008, with its Surface Stereo Imager (SSI). This mosaic is made up of more than 100 different SSI pointings, with images taken through three different filters at each pointing. 15 years ago in August 2008, Phoenix completed its three-month mission studying Martian ice, soil, and atmosphere.

The goals of the Phoenix Mars Lander were to study the history of water in the Martian arctic, search for evidence of a habitable zone, and assess the biological potential of the ice-soil boundary. More broadly, the lander was designed to determine whether life ever existed on Mars, characterize the climate and geology of the Red Planet, and to help prepare for future human exploration of its surface. Phoenix sampled Martian dirt for ice, and two months later, scientists confirmed that there is water on Mars. In addition, study of another soil sample suggested that the soil was composed of salts and other chemicals such as perchlorate, sodium, magnesium, chloride, and potassium.

The lander went into safe mode on Oct. 28, 2008, due to insufficient sunlight and poor weather conditions; Martian winter had come. During safe mode, activities that weren’t critical were suspended while the spacecraft awaited instructions from mission control. There was daily communication with the lander from Oct. 30 to Nov. 2 but no signals were received after Nov. 2, 2008, and the mission ended.

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



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