Photo Gallery: Phoenix Lander's Search for Mars Water

Pictures of the Phoenix craft and evidence of water on Mars
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A globelike map of Mars shows the planned landing sitethe square plot marked with a "D"for the Phoenix probe. The site sits near Mars's north pole at a latitude equivalent to northern Alaska on Earth.

In 2002 the Mars Odyssey Orbiter beamed back evidence of large amounts of subsurface water ice in the red planet's northern region.

NASA's rovers Spirit and Opportunity have been on the hunt for signs of water but are situated much farther south, near the Martian equator.

The Phoenix lander should touch down near the north pole in May 2008 and will use a robotic arm to dig through the protective topsoil. The probe will collect both soil and water ice samples for scientific analysis.

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—Image courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech/Washington Univ. St. Louis/Univ. of Arizona
 
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