Martian Arctic Says Cheese

NASA sees what it expected to see
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 26, 2008 1:39 PM CDT
Peter Smith principal Investigator, University of Arizona speaks behind a model of the Phoenix Mars lander during a news conference, May 25, 2008. In the background is a color image of Mars' surface.    (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
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(Newser) – The Mars Phoenix Lander is sending NASA the first photos of the red planet's northern polar region, CNN reports. On its 3-month mission, the lander will “taste and sniff the northern polar site’s soil and ice,” the agency said. The photos show brown polygons checkering the landscape as far as the eye can see.

"It's surprisingly close to what we expected and that's what surprises me most," said the mission's principal investigator. "I expected a bigger surprise."