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Frost Accumulation on Telltale Mirror
08.18.08
 
Frost accumulation on telltale mirror

Bright specks of frost accumulate on the mirror of the telltale on NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander in this series of images taken between 12:54 a.m. and 2:34 a.m. at the landing site during the 80th Martian day, or sol, of the mission (on Aug. 15, 2008).

Phoenix's Surface Stereo Imager took these images through a blue filter (450 nanometer wavelength) that is used primarily for viewing items on the spacecraft rather than the workspace or horizon. In order to increase the number of frames, the size of the individual images downlinked from the spacecraft has been reduced. These have been shown superimposed upon a full image of the telltale from Sol 13 for context. The frost on the mirror sparkles in low-angle light from the sun, which is barely above the horizon at this hour.

This type of early morning frost is not a concern for the operation of the spacecraft.

During the early-morning period when these images were taken the wind was blowing steadily at about 5 meters per second (about 11 miles per hour) from the northeast, as indicated by the telltale.

The telltale is about 10 centimeters (4 inches) tall. The experiment was built by the University of Aarhus, Denmark.

The Phoenix Mission is led by the University of Arizona, Tucson, on behalf of NASA. Project management of the mission is by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. Spacecraft development is by Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University Arizona/Texas A&M University/University of Aarhus/University of Copenhagen

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