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Emily LakdawallaJune 24, 2008

A milestone for the Phoenix mission success panorama

I mentioned at the end of my earlier blog entry that on sol 28 Phoenix downlinked the last of the images necessary to make the first complete 360-degree color view around the lander. That's true, sort of. Here's the first attempt I've seen to assemble those images in color. It's quite a cool view.

Phoenix' 'Peter Pan' -- first two rows complete

Phoenix' 'Peter Pan' -- first two rows complete
The "click to enlarge" view takes you to a panorama reduced to 25% of the original resolution.
This panorama is referred to as the "Peter Pan" for the mission's principal investigator (and in keeping with the fanciful names used by the Phoenix team for interesting objects at the landing site). Capturing a complete 360-degree color view around the lander is one of the mission success criteria for Phoenix. Images of each spot must be taken through three filters in order to appear in color; one set of images is taken at full resolution, and the other two are at reduced (25%) resolution.

Phoenix camera team leader Mark Lemmon cautioned me that the mission success panorama isn't really quite done. The first two rows, horizon and midfield, are basically complete (though there are a couple of data gaps, so they have to do a couple of retakes). More important, they plan on filling in the terrain nearest the lander, which includes the robotic arm's workspace. Still, it's a milestone to have at least two rows of the panorama in color, for 360 degrees around the lander. Congratulations to the imaging team!

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Emily Lakdawalla

Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist for The Planetary Society
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