Monday, May 26, 2008

Mars!

Doesn't look like much, but it's actually a picture beamed back by the Phoenix Mars Mission.

While not the first probe to Mars, Phoenix is different from its predecessors because its mission is to study the history of water and habitability potential of our neighboring planet. In fact, it's the first in NASA's Scout Program series.

From the news report:

May 25, 2008 NASA's Phoenix spacecraft landed in the northern polar region of Mars today to begin three months of examining a site chosen for its likelihood of having frozen water within reach of the lander's robotic arm.

Radio signals received at 4:53:44 p.m. Pacific Time (7:53:44 p.m. Eastern Time) confirmed the Phoenix Mars Lander had survived its difficult final descent and touchdown 15 minutes earlier. The signals took that long to travel from Mars to Earth at the speed of light.

Mission team members at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.; Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver; and the University of Arizona, Tucson, cheered confirmation of the landing and eagerly awaited further information from Phoenix later tonight.

More pictures over at the program site.