For those that are interested, here is the image (taken from part of the surface stereo imager mosaic picture sent down from Phoenix within an hour of landing), showing the ‘mystery’ white object faintly visible close to the horizon. More details on what this might be will be given shortly when NASA gets an opportunity to enhance the images. The object can be faintly seen near the center of this image (below).
Courtesy NASA JPL, Caltech and University of Arizona
Meanwhile a full-scale mock-up of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), which is scheduled to launch in 2009, was stealthily unveiled in the JPL campus today (26 May). Dwarfing the Spirit and Opportunity rovers and even the Phoenix, the nuclear-powered MSL has the look of an off-road SUV in overall size. The large rover would be equipped with a container for collecting Martian samples. Mission planners believe the cache could be saved until it could be transported back to Earth as part of a future Mars sample return mission. With its in-built power supply, the MSL is designed to roam Mars for a full Mrtian year, equal to nearly two Earth years.