2008-06-01 - Phoenix Mars landingNASA's Phoenix lands on Mars

Marssonde landet erfolgreich in der Polregion<br /> A NASA spacecraft sent pictures showing itself in good condition after making the first successful landing in a polar region of Mars. The images from NASA's Mars Phoenix Lander also provided a glimpse of the flat valley floor expected to have water-rich permafrost within reach of the lander's robotic arm.

The landing ends a 422-million-mile journey from Earth and begins a three-month mission that will use instruments to taste and sniff the northern polar site's soil and ice.
Radio signals received at 4:53:44 p.m. Pacific Time (7:53:44 p.m. Eastern Time) on 25 May confirmed that the Phoenix Mars Lander had survived its difficult final descent and touchdown 15 minutes earlier. In the intervening time, those signals crossed the distance from Mars to Earth at the speed of light. The confirmation ignited cheers by mission team members at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.; Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver; and the University of Arizona. As planned, Phoenix stopped transmitting one minute after landing and focused its limited battery power on opening its solar arrays, and other critical activities. About two hours after touchdown, it sent more good news. The first pictures confirmed that the solar arrays needed for the mission's energy supply had unfolded properly, and masts for the stereo camera and weather station had swung into vertical position.
"Only five of our planet's 11 previous attempts to land on the Red Planet have succeeded. In exploring the universe, we accept some risk in exchange for the potential of great scientific rewards," said Ed Weiler, NASA associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Phoenix carries science instruments to assess whether ice just below the surface ever thaws and whether some chemical ingredients of life are preserved in the icy soil. These are key questions in evaluating whether the environment has ever been favorable for microbial life. Phoenix will also study other aspects of the soil and atmosphere with instrument capabilities never before used on Mars. Canada supplied the lander's weather station.

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