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HiRISE camera captures image of the Phoenix landing site 22 hours after landing. June 3, 2008

Posted by jtintle in Planets, Space Fotos.
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Phoenix Lander Hardware: EDL +22 (PSP_008591_2485)
Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

MRO’s HiRISE camera acquired this image of the Phoenix landing site 22 hours after landing. The image shows three unusual features; seen also is the image acquired 11 hours after landing. These three features were not present in a pre-landing HiRISE image.

We expect to find three main pieces of hardware: the parachute attached to the backshell, the heat shield, and the lander itself.

The parachute (bottom) is easy to identify because it is especially bright, and this image also clearly shows the backshell. We can even see the stripes on the parachute.

The dark marking (middle right) appears most consistent with disturbance of the ground from impact and bouncing of the heat shield, which fell from a height of about 13 kilometers.

The last object (top) is the lander, and we can clearly see the solar arrays on each side. The solar arrays were relatively dark in the image acquired 11 hours after landing, but are brighter than the Mars surface in this daytime image acquired with the HiRISE blue-green filter.

There are dark halos around all three locations, perhaps due to disturbing a thin dust coating. North is about 7 degrees to the right of straight up in this image and illumination is from the lower left.

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