Phoenix's arm finally was, finally, unstowed! After a one day delay originated by the fact of Tuesday's commands, sent to Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter as planned, did not reached the lander, the reason for this to happen was the temporary shut off of the orbiter's Electra UHF radio system for relaying commands.
I've created an animated gif where it is possible to see the Robotic Arm moving for the first time after a long journey from the Earth to Mars:
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona / Animated GIF by spacEurope
Also a full panorama of Phoenix's landing site was achieved (click to enlarge)...:
Image Credit: NASA/JPL/U. Arizona/Texas A&M
Now the time is to think where to head that robotic arm and get the real action started...
According to Mark Lemmon, SSI Co-Investigator, the last images acquired are "very exciting to the science team."
And why is that? Lemmon explains:
"We see the polygons we're looking for...We appear to have landed where we have access to digging down a polygon trough the long way, digging across the trough, and digging into the center of a polygon. We've dedicated this polygon as the first national park system on Mars -- a "keep out" zone until we figure out how best to use this natural Martian resource."
Until then Phoenix will use the robotic arm to firstly dig in a different area seen in 360-degree view shown above, an area outside the preserved polygon.