Tuesday, May 27, 2008

One of the first images to be beamed back from Phoenix is this photo of the spacecraft's flight deck.  The inner pic shows the 'Phoenix DVD' that was installed on the deck prior to launch last August.

I’M ON MARS! Along with around a quarter million other people. At 4:38 PM (Pacific Daylight Time) Sunday, the Phoenix Lander successfully touched down on the Red Planet...and will soon begin 3 months worth of digging into the soil to search for signs of water and other clues to organic life. Phoenix is the first spacecraft ever to land in a polar region on Mars, and its arrival marks only the 6th time out of 13 overall attempts that a probe reached the Red Planet’s surface intact. All 6 probes that made it down safely (Vikings' 1 and 2, Mars Pathfinder, the Spirit and Opportunity rovers, and Phoenix) were launched by NASA. Just thought I’d mention this if you’re not American. Just kidding.

The Martian northern plain, with one of Phoenix's solar panels and a portion of the lander's flight deck visible in the foreground.

In terms of me (and a quarter million other people) being on Mars, Phoenix carries a mini-DVD on its flight deck...shown in the pic at the top of this Blog entry. 250,000 people sent their names via the Internet and snail mail from October of 2006 to February of last year, and their names join a ton of Martian literature—written by famous authors such as Arthur C. Clarke and H.G. Wells—that are also encrypted on the disc. The DVD is meant to last at least 500 years on the Red Planet’s surface...despite the fact the entire Phoenix lander will probably be entombed in ice by the end of this year, after it eventually succumbs to the freezing temperatures of the Martian arctic.

Phoenix artwork.

Having some free time on my hands, I also submitted the names of family members, close high school and college friends, co-workers and hot girls I knew. Yep, all 12 of you are on Mars too! Hahaha. Seriously though, I submitted a gripload of names for the DVD.

A certificate commemorating the fact that my name is now freezing on the North Pole of Mars.

If you’re a conspiracy theorist and thinks this is all a hoax, NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter took these two awesome photos below. The first one is of Phoenix as it slowly descended to the ground by a parachute. Why is this particular shot awesome, you ask? It's because this image was taken from 472 miles up in space. The second photo is of Phoenix sitting on the Martian surface a day after it landed. Technology rules.

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter photographs Phoenix before and after it lands on the Martian surface.
All images courtesy of NASA JPL / University of Arizona / The Planetary Society

PHOENIX Blog Entries Archive:

May 8, 2007
July 28, 2007
August 3, 2007
August 4, 2007
August 8, 2007
October 25, 2007
April 11, 2008
April 25, 2008
May 1, 2008
May 11, 2008
May 18, 2008
May 24, 2008
May 25, 2008

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