Phoenix Lander Hardware: EDL +11
Phoenix Lander Hardware: EDL +11
PSP_008585_2915  Science Theme: Future Exploration/Landing Sites
MRO’s HiRISE camera acquired this image of the Phoenix landing site 11 hours after landing. The image shows three unusual features, which were not present in the earlier, 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 (lower right) is easy to identify because it is especially bright, although this image doesn't clearly reveal the backshell.

The double dark marking at upper right seems 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 (upper left) appears to be a about the right size and height for the lander, and with dark objects on each side (to the east and west) consistent with the solar arrays.

This image was acquired in the nighttime, when the arctic sun was only 12 degrees above the horizon to the northeast. Later images will be acquired in the daytime with the sun higher in the sky and to the southwest, and could confirm our initial interpretations. North is about 7 degrees to the left of straight up in this image.

These objects were later confirmed on the subsequent HiRISE observation acquired 22 hours after landing.

Written by: Alfred McEwen  (27 May 2008)

Acquisition date
26 May 2008

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
314.4 km (195.4 miles)

Original image scale range
31.5 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~94 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
25 cm/pixel

Map projection

Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
79°, with the Sun about 11° above the horizon

Solar longitude
76.9°, Northern Spring

For non-map projected images
North azimuth:  262°
Sub-solar azimuth:  310.3°
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Black and white
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non-map           (1357MB)

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Merged IRB
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Merged RGB
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B&W label
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EDR products

IRB: infrared-red-blue
RGB: red-green-blue
About color products (PDF)

Black & white is 5 km across; enhanced color about 1 km
For scale, use JPEG/JP2 black & white map-projected images

All of the images produced by HiRISE and accessible on this site are within the public domain: there are no restrictions on their usage by anyone in the public, including news or science organizations. We do ask for a credit line where possible:

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The HiRISE camera was built by Ball Aerospace and Technology Corporation and is operated by the University of Arizona.