NASA has initiated the first of a new series of missions to augment the current Mars Program. In addition to the systematic series of planned, directed missions currently comprising the Mars Program plan, NASA has started a series of Mars Scout missions that are low cost, price fixed, Principle Investigator-led projects. These missions are intended to provide an avenue for rapid response to discoveries made as a result of the primary Mars missions, as well as allow more risky technologies and approaches to be applied in the investigation of Mars. The first in this new series is the Phoenix mission which was selected as part of a highly competitive process. Phoenix will use the Mars 2001 Lander that was discontinued in 2000 and apply a new set of science objectives and mission objectives and will validate this soft lander architecture for future applications. This paper will provide an overview of both the Program and the Project.