The picture below is a panorama mosaic taken by the Phoenix Mars Lander spacecraft on Mars showing the midnight sun over a period of several days.


During eleven days, the path of the sun dropped lower over the northern horizon of Mars, captured by time-lapse images and composed into this mosaic. The arc in the picture is indicative of the polar nature of the Phoenix mission.

Phoenix has now been on Mars nearly 60 days. A set of imaging commands will soon be initiated to check a northwestern piece of the Martian horizon in early afternoon looking for dust devils, which are fairly prevalent on Mars. This will represent the first time Phoenix has systematically searched for dust devils. It appears to me that the resolution of the Phoenix camera is so good that any dust devils captured should make for very interesting photographs.

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


A discovery of silica deposits on Mars detected in 2007 is featured in a paper in the May 23, 2008 issue of Science.  The Mars rover Spirit detected these deposits which were formed by volcanic vapors or hot-spring-type events that could hold traces of past life. Mars sunset














The above image, taken in 2005, shows the sun setting above the Martian horizon casting a blue glow above the rim of Gusev Crater.

On Earth, these deposits are associated with living organisms and fossil remains of microbes. This means that the environment in this part of Mars could be friendly to microbial life. Silica is a medium that can capture and preserve traces of this microbial life.

The Spirit and Opportunity rovers have been operating on Mars since January 2004. On Sunday, May 25, a new Mars lander named Phoenix will arrive to take ice samples out of the Martian soil for analysis.