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Mars Phoenix
This animation consists of two close-up images of "Snow Queen," taken several days apart, by the Robotic Arm Camera (RAC) aboard NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander. Snow Queen is the informal name for a patch of bright-toned material underneath the lander. Thruster exhaust blew away surface soil covering Snow Queen when Phoenix landed on May 25, 2008, exposing this hard layer comprising several smooth rounded cavities beneath the lander. The RAC images show how Snow Queen visibly changed between June 15 and July 9, 2008. Cracks as long as 10 centimeters (about four inches) appeared. A seven millimeter (one-third inch) pebble or clod appears just above and slightly to the right of the crack. Cracks also appear in the lower part of the left third of the image. Other pieces noticeably shift, and some smooth texture has subtly roughened. Each image is about 60 centimeters, or about two feet, wide. The object protruding in from the top on the right half of the images is Phoenix's thermal and electrical conductivity probe. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/Max Planck Institute
01/14/09

 



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