A NASA spacecraft plunged into the atmosphere of Mars and successfully landed in the Red Planet's northern polar region on Sunday, where it will begin 90 days of digging in the permafrost to look for evidence of the building blocks of life.
Less than two hours later, the Phoenix Mars Lander beamed back four dozen black-and-white images including one of its foot sitting on Martian soil amid tiny rocks. Others included the horizon of the arctic plain and ground with polygon patterns similar to what can be found in Earth's permafrost regions.
"Absolutely beautiful," said Dan McCleese, a chief scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "It looks like a good place to start digging."