May
26
2008

Phoenix lander footpad on Mars
Phoenix lander footpad on MarsCourtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona
The Phoenix Mars Lander set down successfully last night (6:53 CDT) near the planet’s arctic area in a region called Vastitas Borealis. On Earth, it would be similar to landing in the upper Northwest Territories of Canada.

Unlike the two Mars rovers, Opportunity and Spirit, the Phoenix is not mobile, and will spend the next four or five months stuck in one spot analyzing soil and ice samples scooped deep from within the Martian permafrost using a robotic arm developed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. On board instruments will analyze the samples in search of answers to questions about the affects of polar dynamics on Martian climate, the history of water at the landing site, and whether the Martian arctic region is suitable to support life.

In the coming months, as the sun disappears beneath the horizon and the Martian winter sets in, the Phoenix will shut down operations and end its mission. The loss of solar heat in the atmosphere will also create a frost cover that will expand out from the polar region and eventually bury the Phoenix lander in ice.

LINKS
NASA Phoenix site
University of Arizona Phoenix Mission site

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

MrBig621188's picture
MrBig621188 says:

i wonder y not have a mobile machine in order to keep it and possibly use it again then one that just reaches every were. A mobile one could gather more samples from many area's as well

posted on Tue, 05/27/2008 - 9:01am
Jefflemus00's picture
Jefflemus00 says:

Not mobile? Really? Why not? I get that mobility might not be as important for this specific mission, but still why? I couldn't have hurt to give it mobility.

posted on Tue, 05/27/2008 - 9:04am
mdr's picture
mdr says:

The fact that it's not mobile makes it a much less expensive mission than it would be otherwise. I think NASA's trying to get the most bang for its buck.

posted on Tue, 05/27/2008 - 10:19am
koallainfestation37's picture
koallainfestation37 says:

i don't really see the point in having a robot chilling in one spot on mars. what exactly are we trying to learn. couldn't we be spending our money on more productive things that actually pertain to us, here... on earth

posted on Tue, 05/27/2008 - 9:25am
mdr's picture
mdr says:

A whole slew of benefits have come down to us (forgive the pun) from US space program missions. Who knows what wonders the current ones will bring us?

posted on Tue, 05/27/2008 - 10:31am
MrBig621188's picture
MrBig621188 says:

true the more information they find aout mars and if they do find life the closer we get to i ( i believe this is the term) terraphorming it and expanding the human hold on plantes and stuff...

posted on Tue, 05/27/2008 - 9:16pm
shanee's picture
shanee says:

Space is soo different it scares me.. i mean if you think about it there could be a whole other life on these planets.

posted on Wed, 05/28/2008 - 8:35am
Candice_318's picture
Candice_318 says:

That's so awesome though. But we need to get more robots up there. I want to know about MARS YA KNOW

posted on Wed, 05/28/2008 - 8:39am
mdr's picture
mdr says:

Check out these cool photos posted at the Space.com site of the Phoenix lander and debris from its landing taken from space by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

posted on Wed, 05/28/2008 - 10:20am

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