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Saturday, August 04, 2007

The Delta II rocket lifts off from its Cape Canaveral launch pad on August 4, 2007...sending the Phoenix Mars lander on its way to the Red Planet.
NASA / Regina Mitchell-Ryall and Jerry Cannon

DICK PARNO IS HEADING TO MARS! Well... Not literally, of course. But my name is! Around 2:26 AM, Pacific Daylight Time today, a Delta II rocket carrying the Phoenix spacecraft successfully lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Now in deep space along with the Mars lander is a mini-DVD bearing the names of 250,000 people...including that of Yours Truly. I’ll go into more details about this in a future Blog. But for now, I just want to say..."Woohoo!" Next up for launch: Dawn (onboard it is a small computer microchip imprinted with the names of more than 360,000 people...including Yours Truly)...which should be heading back to its launch pad to prepare for liftoff to the Asteroid Belt around mid to late-September. Also launching next month is Japan’s Kaguya space probe...which will head to the Moon with an aluminum sheet carrying the names and messages of more than 412,000 people...including Yours Tru— Well you get the idea. Back on topic... Godspeed Phoenix (I wonder how many times I've used that term?)! I’ll be rooting for you to safely touch down on the Red Planet next Spring (May 25, 2008, to be exact). Later.

An artist's concept depicting the Phoenix lander about to touch down on the Martian surface.

The Phoenix DVD, which bears the names of 250,000 people, after it is attached to the deck of the lander.
NASA / Lockheed Martin / The Planetary Society

A certificate commemorating my participation in the Phoenix DVD project, courtesy of The Planetary Society.

PHOENIX Blog Entries Archive:

May 8, 2007
July 28, 2007
August 3, 2007

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