If you are a fan of space exploration like me, tonight (Sunday night – May 25, 2008), was a huge night. The Phoenix Mars Lander successfully touched down almost seven hours ago. We’ve just now received the first color photographs back (black & white ones were sent earlier to show the condition of the lander as well as its landing site) – you can view the photographs here (NASA.gov). Other than deploying its parachute a little later than expected, it looks like it was a successful landing.
This is the first spacecraft to set down near the North Pole of Mars, and will be looking for water, among other things. It even has a scoop and some small ovens to scoop up materials and look for certain things.
It’s an exciting mission – it was the first successful powered landing since the NASA Viking I & II spacecraft set down in the 1970s.
– Phoenix Mars Mission – Official Site (Arizona.edu)
– Photo Gallery (Arizona.edu)
– Spaceflight Now – Mission Status
– Mars Exploration Overview (NASA.gov)
– Phoenix Mars Lander – (NASA.giv)