Mars Phoenix: We Got Touchdown

Illustration for article titled Mars Phoenix: We Got Touchdown

This time there weren't any imperial vs metric units frack-ups: the Phoenix Mars Lander touched down perfectly on the northern polar region of Mars, starting a three-month mission that will see the spacecraft digging in the dirt for frozen water and tiny green men.

Advertisement
Illustration for article titled Mars Phoenix: We Got Touchdown
Illustration for article titled Mars Phoenix: We Got Touchdown
Illustration for article titled Mars Phoenix: We Got Touchdown
Illustration for article titled Mars Phoenix: We Got Touchdown
Illustration for article titled Mars Phoenix: We Got Touchdown

NASA received the first signals at 7:53:44PM Eastern Time, which made engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California; Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver; and the University of Arizona, Tucson, to jump on their seats overjoyed. We can't blame them: this is just the third time in history that a spacecraft has completed a soft landing on the red planet, 32 years after Viking 2. Now we only have to wait a couple more days to see if everything, including the critical 7.7-foot-long robotic scoop arm, is in working condition.

Advertisement
Illustration for article titled Mars Phoenix: We Got Touchdown

[NASA]

Advertisement

DISCUSSION

icelight
icelight

@red: Even then, he slipped a decimal point. At ~420 million for the US contribution, that's only $1.40 per person. So at a cost of one candy bar per citizen (most of which, as has been noted, was spent right hear in the States paying engineers and buying US-made equipment) we've furthered the search for life on other planets. Quite a good deal, I'd say.