PHOTOS: Mars Lander Takes First ''Self Portraits''

PHOTOS: Mars Lander Transmits Historic Photos
<< Previous   2 of 6   Next >>
The orbiting HiRISE camera snapped its first shot of the Phoenix Mars Lander on May 26, 2008, 22 hours after touchdown. The lander, with its two solar arrays, stands out as a bright blue object in the upper part of the picture.

The craft's heat shield, which was jettisoned during descent at about 6.2 miles (10 kilometers) above the surface, is seen as a dark spot below and to the right of the lander. A slightly larger dark spot nearby is thought to be the "bounce mark" made when the heat shield hit the ground.

At the bottom of the image lies the craft's parachute, still attached to the backshell. Phoenix separated from its parachute at about 3,156 feet (962 meters) above Mars, relying on 12 pulsing thrusters to smooth its final descent.

 More Photos in the News
 Today's 15 Most Read Stories
 Free Email Newsletter: Focus on Photography
—Image by NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona
 
NEWS FEEDS    After installing a news reader, click on this icon to download National Geographic News's XML/RSS feed. After installing a news reader, click on this icon to download National Geographic News's XML/RSS feed.

Get our news delivered directly to your desktop—free.
How to Use XML or RSS




 

50 Drives of a Lifetime

Listen to your favorite National Geographic news daily, anytime, anywhere from your mobile phone. No wires or syncing. Download Stitcher free today.