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Topography and Terrain of Phoenix Target Area
05.13.08
 
shaded relief map shows the topography and color-coded types of terrain in and around the targeted landing site for NASA's Mars Phoenix Lander

This shaded relief map shows the topography and color-coded types of terrain in and around the targeted landing site for NASA's Mars Phoenix Lander.

The spacecraft will reach Mars on May 25, 2008. The center of the targeted landing area is at the center of the set of ellipses superimposed on the map. Plans call for navigating Phoenix to hit a target at the top of Mars' atmosphere so that the spacecraft will have a 66 percent chance of landing within the smallest of the three ellipses and a 99 percent chance of landing within the largest of the three.

An impact crater informally named "Heimdall" lies in the orange-coded area northeast of the targeted landing site. The crater is about 10 kilometers (6 miles) wide. Material ejected from Heimdall has been mapped as a rocky inner portion (orange) and an outer portion (yellow). The outer ejecta is relatively rock-free, as is the "lowland bright" unit (light blue), which is probably an even farther-out portion of where material ejected from Heimdall has been deposited. These two ejecta units thus provide a rock-free and flat terrain for the Phoenix landing.

The "lowland dark" (dark blue) unit has more rocks detectable from orbit than the lowland bright unit.

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

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

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