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  • Date :
  • 6/1/2008

First-ever glimpse of the Red Planet
A photo sent by Phoenix Mars

NASA's newest Phoenix in the solar system sends pictures from the north polar region of Mars believed to hold a reservoir of ice beneath its surface.

The NASA spacecraft Phoenix Mars touched down on the Red Planet and started sending photos shortly after landing.


Dozens of black-and-white images, including one of its feet sitting on soil in the middle of tiny rocks, dazzled scientists.


The photos, which were sent after a 422 million-mile flight from Earth, included the horizon of the arctic plain and ground with polygon patterns similar to what can be found in Earth's permafrost regions.


A photo sent by Phoenix Mars
The photos revealed geometric patterns in the soil likely related to the freezing and thawing of ground ice.


"This is a scientist's dream, right here on this landing site," principal investigator Peter Smith of the University of Arizona, Tucson, said in a post-landing news conference.

During its 90-day mission, Phoenix Mars is to excavate soil and ice as part of a study to learn whether the Red Planet could have supported microbial life.

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