The Phoenix Has Landed (on Mars!)

PASADENA, CA - MAY 25:  Phoenix principal inve...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Hi all…

The geek in me won’t let me let this day go by without commenting on the Phoenix Mars Lander‘s amazing landing today… Do you know about this cool probe?

You can find out more here.

The Phoenix Lander is the latest in a series of highly anticipated, successful missions that NASA has undertaken in the last few years. The two Mars rovers kicked off the era of success and I’ve been watching for quite a while (I’ve been a space geek since Elementary School).

According to an article in CNET:

Phoenix is set to take up residency in the north polar region of Mars, where researchers expect it to find “ice-rich permafrost” underneath the rocky, dusty surface. In 2002, the Mars Odyssey Orbiter indicated that there could be large amounts of subsurface water ice in that area.

Upon landing, it will be about 170 million miles from Earth–after having traveled about 422 million miles through space.

Using a robotic arm, Phoenix will dig into the surface to bring up both soil and ice. In its platform structure, the lander will then analyze those samples to help scientist on Earth create models of Mars’ historic climate and to predict future atmospheric conditions.

We should all hope we can get some great images from the Lander’s camera and data from the robotic arm’s experiments — and I truly hope that we get as much great data from this robot as we did from the two Mars Rovers

A HUGE congratulations to NASA, JPL, and all the folks involved in this incredible achievement. It’s one thing to send a probe into space — it’s quite another to get a probe to actually LAND on a planet. 🙂

–Fitz

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