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Last Updated: Monday May 26 2008 10:19 GMT

In pictures: First pics of Mars' north pole

An artist's impression of the Phoenix probe on Mars

Nine months after blasting into space, the Phoenix Mars Lander has touched down on Mars. This is what artists thought the Red Planet's north pole area would look like.

The surface of Mars

And this is what it REALLY looks like. Images from the Nasa space probe were beamed back to Earth within hours of the landing on Sunday night.

One of the Phoenix Mars Lander's legs on the surface of Mars

Control room staff had a nervous two-hour wait, before the first pictures of Mars' unexplored north pole started coming through.

The surface of Mars

As well as showing amazing detail of the rocky landscape...

Solar panels on the Phoenix Mars Lander after it landed on the red planet

The pictures also allowed engineers to check the spacecraft for any signs of damage.

The spacecraft's landing is confirmed

A signal confirming that the Phoenix lander had touched down safely was received at 23.53pm on Sunday.

Staff in the control centre celebrate the safe landing of the Phoenix Mars Lander

The Phoenix team clapped and cheered at the news, although they're expecting loads more tense moments during the nine-month mission.

Part of the Phoenix Mars Lander and the surface of Mars

During the mission, the space probe will be using a robotic arm to search for any previous signs of life on the planet.