New Spacecraft Arriving at Mars

May 16, 2008 at 5:39 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

About eight months ago, NASA launched a new spacecraft named Phoenix. Since then, it has been cruising toward a rendezvous with Mars, and it’s now just a week away from landing. On Sunday, May 25th it is set to land, but this one will be different. Unlike the Mars Rovers which landed near the equator in 2003, the Phoenix spacecraft will explore the Martian arctic.

Another difference – The twin rovers have each covered more than 5 miles in their historic trek, which against all odds, still contines 5 years later. But the Phoenix lander will be stationary. And because of its landing place in the polar regions, it is only expected to survive for 3 to 5 months. But it will be historic in its own way. Phoenix has an extendable arm, with a trenching tool on the end. It will dig into the Martian permafrost, and then examine the soil and ices under a microscope.

Here’s a link with more information on the mission:

And here is a photo of an artist’s impression of what Phoenix will look like as it nears touchdown:


Ken Kalthoff did a story this afternoon on a Dallas link to the Martian spacecraft. A local professor built a spectroscope that will be used to analyze the spectrums, and determine the mineral content of the soils and ices that the trencher digs up.   Here’s a link to Ken’s blog:


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