Mission to Mars

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

Artist's impression of Phoenix Touchdown.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

The Phoenix Mars lander ended its 5 month journey on Mars after a loss of power left it frozen on the planet's icy surface. It left Florida’s Cape Canaveral on 4 August 2007, aboard a Delta II rocket on its 274 million km journey. It was originally expected to last only about three months so scientists have been pleased to keep it running a couple more months.

The Phoenix Mars lander touched down on Mars' Arctic Plain on 26 May 2008, after a ten month voyage. Landing on the red planet was a complex process that requires Phoenix to slow down from 19,000 kph to zero in just seven minutes.

The mission was part of NASA’s long-term Mars Exploration programme, which aims to determine whether there is or ever was life on the red planet, and to explore the climate and geology of Mars in preparation for a possible human exploration in the future. The Phoenix Mission was designed to support NASA’s work by studying the history of water in the Martian arctic, the biological potential of the soil and searching for any evidence of a habitable region on the planet’s surface.

The misson was a notable success for NASA as the lander found both ice and water near the surface and sent back over 25,000 photographs as well as data from many experiments.

Websites to explore

Main Phoenix lander page at NASA
This is the main page for lander news - check out the live feeds, podcasts, video tours and more.
Phoenix Mars Mission
Peter Smith of the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory serves as Phoenix's lead scientist.
NASA's Mars exploration page
Missions to Mars
Details past, present and future missions to Mars. Includes illustrations of craft, photographic results, fact sheets. From NASA.
Mars for Kids
Mars themed games, activities and information for children. From NASA.
Planetary Photojournal
View the latest images from Mars and other planets. From NASA.
Google Mars
A shaded relief map color-coded by altitude using Google Maps interface.
More Mars web sites
From our Internet gateway.

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