PASADENA, Calif. NASAs 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 landers robotic
arm. It also 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.
"We see the lack of rocks that we expected, we see the polygons that we
saw from space, we don't see ice on the surface, but we think we will
see it beneath the surface. It looks great to me," said Peter Smith of
the University of Arizona , Tucson , principal investigator for the
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.
The signal confirming that Phoenix had survived touchdown was relayed
and received on Earth at the Goldstone, Calif., antenna station of NASAs
You can read more, see first images, follow the blogs and more on the JPL
Next press conference - the post-landing briefing, occurs on NASA TV 11
a.m. Monday morning:
I know you all join me in congratulating the Phoenix team on a
successful soft landing on Mars! It was great fun to be at JPL today and
tonight supporting the landing!
Jane Houston Jones
34.2048N 118.1732W, 637.0 feet
Old Town Astronomers: http://www.otastro.org