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Phoenix Almost There
Phoenix Almost There

NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander is targeted to land in a flat valley in the arctic plains of Mars, at the center of the blue ellipse shown here. It is most likely to touch down at the very center, and least likely to land at the ellipse's edges. The ellipse is approximately 60 kilometers (37 miles) long and 20 kilometers (12 miles) wide.

The black pock-looking mark above and to the left of the center of the ellipse is a small pile of rocks, informally referred to as "The Hill," which is less than a few meters (less than 10 feet) tall and more than one kilometer (about one mile) in diameter. The circular indentation outside and to the right of the ellipse is an impact crater dubbed "Heimdall," after the Norse mythological watchman, or protector, of gods.

The map shown here is made up of topography data taken by NASA's Mars Global Surveyor. It shows exaggerated differences in the height of the terrain.

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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