Phoenix Mars Lander Surface Stereo Imager

Phoenix Surface Stereo Imager (SSI)

Mars images

The SSI color gallery is here.

The SSI sol-by-sol gallery is here.

Phoenix operated science instruments through a 152-sol period (sol 0 through sol 151). The lander survived longer in "Lazarus" mode, but no additional science observations were made. SSI retuned images from each sol that any science operations occured (excluding lander "safe" mode, sols 23 and 27). SSI never landed in the "penalty box", and participated the verification of the presence of water ice at the site, and documented all digging operations, documented all TEGA, WCL, and OM samples. In addition, SSI imaged water ice clouds and haze, dust devils, the midnight sun as well as sunsets, frost and wind, Lidar's green laser beam, and each of the other instruments. 29,930 SSI image products were retunred to Earth.

SSI information

SSI is a stereographic imager (it has two eyes) with color and near infrared capability. SSI is the only Phoenix camera capable of color imaging of something that has not previously been acquired by the Robotic Arm scoop and the only one with binocular vision. It was to map the Phoenix landing site, choose places to dig and sample, and to make color images, movies, and other products that help convey the nature of its Martian polar landing site to people here on Earth. SSI was built by the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Lab, using a design similar to that of the camera on the failed Mars Polar Lander. The major upgrade for Phoenix was to replace the old 1/16 megapixel CCDs (from Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research) with newer 1 megapixel CCDs (from JPL's Mars Exploration Rover project). The extra space required for the MER CCDs resulted in the "hat" on top of the camera. The camera was developed under the science leadership of Mark Lemmon at Texas A&M University. Below is some information (some of it pretty technical).

SSI objectives: The camera's major uses are for site surveying, RA workspace mapping, remote sensing mineralogy, sample documentation, and weather monitoring.

SSI vital statistics: SSI is a pair of 1 megapixel cameras with a selction of 24 filters, and with better than 1 mm/pixel reolution in the RA workspace.

SSI filters: The SSI dual filter wheel provides 13 color & multispectral bands, 2 of which are in stereo; 6 solar imaging bands for detection of atmospheric dust, water ice, and water vapor; 2 colors of close-focus deck imaging; and 1 polarization filter.

Decoding Phoenix filenames: Ever wondered what SS000RAD896228467_10CA8R8T1.IMG signifies? (Probably not, but if so, this is your link.)

Pre-landing gallery: Pictures of and by SSI before landing.

Phoenix clock, (downloadable, suitable for desktops).

Outside links

Phoenix web site: your site for all up to the minute information from Phoenix. See the blogs there, and don't miss the landing animation!

The Planetary Society Phoenix page. Also see Emily's blog at Planetary Society, very informative about space exploration generally.

UMSF forum.

The SSI science lead is Dr. Mark Lemmon of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences, College of Geosciences, Texas A&M University.

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