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11.15.2016 Schiaparelli Impact Site on Mars, Stereo
11.03.2016 Schiaparelli Impact Site on Mars, in Color
03.30.2016 Erisa Hines
03.30.2016 Buzz Aldrin
03.21.2016 For a Decade Orbiting Mars: One Recent View
03.09.2016 For a Decade Orbiting Mars: One Recent View
03.09.2016 Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter By the Numbers
03.01.2016 MRO sees Frosty Spring Slopes
02.12.2016 Women in Science
02.10.2016 Wind at Work
11.16.2015 Change Observed in Martian Sand Dune
10.05.2015 'The Martian' Story's Ares 4 Landing Site
10.05.2015 The Ares 3 Landing Site (Figure A)
09.30.2015 Avalanche Ho!
06.29.2015 Mars Exploration Zone Layout Considerations
06.17.2015 Active High-Latitude Dune Gullies
06.03.2015 Crisp Crater in Sirenum Fossae
05.20.2015 Sedimentary Rock Layers on a Crater Floor
05.20.2015 Honey, I Shrunk the Mesas
05.11.2015 Icy Wonderland
05.04.2015 Diverse Orbits Around Mars
03.27.2015 South Pole Spiders
03.27.2015 A Smile a Day....
03.25.2015 Pitted Landforms in Southern Hellas Planitia
03.12.2015 Curiosity Heading Away from 'Pahrump Hills'
02.18.2015 Lava Flow Near the Base of Olympus Mons
02.09.2015 Yardangs in Arsinoes Chaos, Mars
02.04.2015 Curiosity Rover at 'Pahrump Hills'
01.22.2015 Frost on Crater Slope
01.16.2015 Components of Beagle 2 Flight System on Mars
12.03.2014 An Enigmatic Feature in Athabasca Lava Flows
12.02.2014 NASA's Journey to Mars
11.07.2014 Mars Orbiter Sizes Up Passing Comet
10.19.2014 Siding Spring Mars Spacecraft
Image from Mars Orbit Indicates Solar Panels on Phoneix Lander may have CollapsedThis set of images shows "before" and "after" images of NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Scientists are analyzing these images to better understand how the spacecraft may have endured its first Martian winter. The "before" image was taken on July 20, 2008 and the "after" image was taken on May 7, 2010. The new image of the Phoenix landing site is a close match to the season and illumination and viewing angles of some of the first HiRISE images acquired after the successful landing on May 25, 2008.
The large HiRISE image on the left was taken on July 20, 2008. The lander, heat shield, and backshell-plus-parachute are highlighted by inset boxes in that image. Smaller images on the right show side-by-side images of the lander, heat shield and backshell-plus-parachute in 2008 (before Martian winter) and 2010 (after Martian winter). Comparison of the two panels shows the lander, heat shield and backshell-plus-parachute now covered by dust. They lack the distinctive colors of the hardware or disturbances in pre-landing dust seen in 2008.
In the top right set of smaller "before Martian winter" and "after Martian winter" images of the lander, the 2008 lander image shows a very bright spot (from reflections) with relatively blue spots on either side corresponding to the clean circular solar panels. The shadows in that image consist of three overlapping dark circles, as shown by the schematic simulated image below the close-up lander images. In the 2010 image, where the illumination and viewing angles are within 1 degree of the 2008 image, scientists see a dark shadow that could be the lander body and eastern solar panel, but no shadow from the western solar panel. Because the reflection is no longer present on the dusty lander, the 2010 image should provide a better view of the shadow from the western array, but that shadow is absent.
Phoenix landed at 68 degrees north latitude, an area where the atmosphere and surface get so cold in winter that carbon dioxide forms a frost on the surface as much as several decimeters (one or more feet) thick. This frost, also known as dry ice, blankets the entire northern landscape each Martian winter, including any spacecraft that might be on the surface. The solar arrays on Phoenix were not designed to withstand significant loads of carbon dioxide frost, so scientists believe the western panel has collapsed.
The University of Arizona, Tucson, operates the HiRISE camera, 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 prime contractor for the project and built the spacecraft.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona