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dlavery
05-15-2008, 01:25 PM
Tune into the live webcast on Thursday, May 22, 2008, to learn about NASA's Phoenix spacecraft and its upcoming mission on Mars.

On Sunday evening, May 25, 2008, the NASA Phoenix spacecraft will arrive at Mars. Phoenix will be the first vehicle intended to land on the surface of Red Planet since the Mars Exploration Rovers "Spirit" and "Opportunity" landed in January 2004.

Phoenix is a three-legged lander that will perform its "entry, descent and landing" sequence and, if successful, will commence a three-month surface science mission. Phoenix will dig down to an ice-rich layer that scientists calculate lies within inches of the surface. The lander will check samples of soil and ice for evidence about whether the site was ever hospitable to life.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California will be conducting a live webcast for schools on Thursday, May 22, at 9:00 a.m. PDT (12:00 p.m. EDT). This webcast will preview the events of the entry, descent and landing, the path to Mars so far, and the science mission.

Appropriate for 4th- through 12th-grade classrooms, the program will feature information and video clips for 30 minutes. Four selected schools connected through the NASA Digital Learning Network will engage in Q&A with JPL staff for an additional 20 minutes.

For information on how to view the webcast live, visit http://dln.nasa.gov/dln/content/webcast/. To learn more about the Phoenix mission, visit http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/missions/present/phoenix.html.

DonRotolo
05-15-2008, 08:05 PM
Appropriate for 4th- through 12th-grade classrooms...but surely cool enough to consume some of your company's bandwidth during those office-friendly hours. :D

Don

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acdcfan259
05-15-2008, 08:07 PM
i wonder if it's gonna end up lasting years longer then they expected like the other two rovers from '04.

MrForbes
05-16-2008, 01:58 PM
Steve (http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/member.php?u=13059) said something about wanting to go to the landing party at the University of Arizona (where he goes to school)....

http://phoenix.lpl.arizona.edu/

David Brinza
05-16-2008, 06:21 PM
i wonder if it's gonna end up lasting years longer then they expected like the other two rovers from '04.Unfortunately, not. The winter in the arctic north of Mars is far more severe than that in the relatively "balmy" equatorial region where Dave's cars are driving about. Even his rovers need to find a nice sunny slope to get enough solar energy to keep alive during the local winter. Phoenix is landing in late-spring/early-summer which means the sun doesn't set (even at mid-day, it's not very high in the sky). Maybe Phoenix will last 120 days on the surface, for sure the sun will set for good on Phoenix about 5 months after landing. During the dark, cold winter Phoenix (and its surroundings) will be covered with carbon dioxide frost at a temperature of almost -200 degF.

Keep in mind that Phoenix is a lander, it can't drive around to explore different geologic features. It will, however, be able to dig progressively deeper into the Mars soil to search for water ice and other chemicals in the soil. If organic compounds are detected, this would be a major discovery regarding the habitability of Mars.

To learn more about the mission, checkout the Landing press kit available at:

Phoenix - JPL website (http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/phoenix/main.php)

The pre-landing press conferences, to be shown on NASA TV (streaming as well), feature the scientists involved with the mission describing the research goals for Phoenix. The schedule for those broadcasts are here:

NASA TV: Phoenix Coverage (http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2008-077)

ahecht
05-16-2008, 10:41 PM
Keep in mind that Phoenix is a lander, it can't drive around to explore different geologic features. It will, however, be able to dig progressively deeper into the Mars soil to search for water ice and other chemicals in the soil. If organic compounds are detected, this would be a major discovery regarding the habitability of Mars.

Well, that's true for the most part. There was some talk that, depending on the hardness and smoothness of the landing surface, the lander might be able to drag itself along the ground with the robot arm. However this would likely not be an intentional maneuver.

JaneYoung
05-23-2008, 11:54 AM
woo (http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/phoenix/main/) - we're getting close.

Hopefully all will go well this weekend.

DonRotolo
05-25-2008, 12:20 PM
Just a bump to remind everyone that just before 8 pm EDT is when the action happens. Since The Simpson's season is over, might as well watch what's happening on Mars.

MrForbes
05-25-2008, 01:06 PM
Looks like my wife and I will take at least one of the kiddos up to join the party at the University of Arizona. should be fun! They've been running stories about it in the Tucson paper all week, and in the local paper too the last few days (we're about 75 miles from Tucson).

artdutra04
05-25-2008, 02:45 PM
The Science Channel will be broadcasting the Phoenix landing live as a two-hour special tonight from 7pm-9pm EDT (http://science.discovery.com/tv-schedules/special.html?paid=48.15158.125229.0.0), on the Science Channel and on Science Channel HD.

dlavery
05-25-2008, 04:23 PM
2-1/2 hours to go. Live blog from the landing team (http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/phoenix/blogs/index.html). Brent Shockley, from the Phoenix landing team, will be updating frequently during the day. The final landing event sequence is:

Event Time (UTC) Time (PST)
Cruise Stage Separation 23:39:17 16:39:17
Turn-to-Entry 23:39:47 16:39:47
Entry 23:46:17 16:46:17
Nominal Plasma Black out start 23:47:05 16:47:05
Nominal Plasma Black out end 23:49:05 16:49:05
Nominal Heatshield Deployment 23:50:12 16:50:12
Nominal Lander Leg Deployment 23:50:22 16:50:22
Nominal Lander Separation 23:52:50 16:52:50
Nominal Touch Down 23:53:33 16:53:33


-dave

DCA Fan
05-25-2008, 06:26 PM
Under 30 minutes until landing!

http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/ Webcast

Greg Needel
05-25-2008, 06:38 PM
Under 30 minutes until landing!

http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/ Webcast

I am watching also...if you arn't watching you should do it NOW!

MissInformation
05-25-2008, 06:45 PM
I swear, I can see stress waves radiating through the air there...

This is really exciting! (and it beats mowing the lawn) Go NASA!

Heidi

Barry Bonzack
05-25-2008, 06:52 PM
Parachute deployed!

Edit: and jettisoned!

Edit: TOUCHDOWN!

Ian Curtis
05-25-2008, 06:55 PM
The Phoenix has landed.

:D Amazing!

EDIT: What's the timetable now? I know they have to wait 15 minutes before they deploy the solar array to make sure they don't get dusty, but when do they continue to recieve additional information?

EricH
05-25-2008, 06:56 PM
Down safe. Now to analyze the soil!

Marc P.
05-25-2008, 06:57 PM
Congratulations NASA/JPL/LM on a successful landing!

Here's to some good science!

acdcfan259
05-25-2008, 06:58 PM
That was awesome when he was calling out the height. So much suspense.

TheOtherGuy
05-25-2008, 07:10 PM
Congrats on the landing from the U of A!

There were so many people here that we had to open up our own laptop for extra viewing...

Michelle692
05-25-2008, 07:10 PM
That was awesome when he was calling out the height. So much suspense.

Yes, it was! You could hear it slowing down... and I was totally sitting on the edge of my seat...

But yay! That was exciting!

MissInformation
05-25-2008, 07:15 PM
... and the joy in that room more than made up for the stress! Way to go to everyone who worked on this mission!

Heidi

artdutra04
05-25-2008, 07:18 PM
Congrats to the Phoenix Lander Team!

Now there's science to do, experiments to run, and research to be done. :p

Joe G.
05-25-2008, 07:23 PM
Congratulations to all involved.

dlavery
05-25-2008, 08:33 PM
The spacecraft is down, and apparently level and safe. If all has gone as planned, the solar arrays have deployed, the camera mast has deployed, and the camera is operating. Hopefully, first images should be coming in within the next few minutes during the first communications pass. These first images will be to verify array deployment, and may include some of the footprint around the lander legs. More scenic views of the surrounding landscape will come in the next few passes, later tonight and tomorrow.

-dave

Barry Bonzack
05-25-2008, 08:57 PM
First images are beautiful. Way to go NASA team!

On a side note, I got to watch Phoenix launch by the VAB. Not exactly a front row seat, but it was a great memory and an amazing very early morning launch.

dlavery
05-25-2008, 08:58 PM
First images are down! (http://fawkes1.lpl.arizona.edu/images.php?gID=320&cID=7)

http://fawkes1.lpl.arizona.edu/images/gallery/lg_310.jpg

Array deployment confirmed, and there is Mars! The spacecraft seems healthy. We can see the surface in the background, small conglomerations of soil and what appear to be small rocks, and at least one good image of the horizon. The entire area looks really flat, which in this case is great!
http://fawkes1.lpl.arizona.edu/images/gallery/md_313.jpg
This looks like a great place to start digging. It does look like the bio-barrier has deployed, which is one of the major events that has to take place before the arm can be deployed and we can start sampling the soil.

-dave

Joe G.
05-25-2008, 09:04 PM
First pictures look great. Any word on when color pictures may be coming?

Now go dig some holes!

JaneYoung
05-25-2008, 09:16 PM
Congrats to the Phoenix Lander Team!

Now there's science to do, experiments to run, and research to be done. :p

I wonder when rocket scientists sleep....:)

Congratulations all - it must be an amazing feeling.

JoeXIII'007
05-25-2008, 10:20 PM
Congrats to NASA!!! It has made Wikipedia's top news story!!!

-Joe

acdcfan259
05-25-2008, 10:27 PM
Front page on Yahoo, top news story on Wiki as Joe said, coverage on CNN. Good to see people taking an interest in science.

Roger
05-26-2008, 09:22 AM
Congrats on a successful landing! Watching the replay I now know how the big boys (and girls) hold their breaths during autonomous mode. :) Ya only get one shot for this!

JaneYoung
08-26-2008, 03:53 PM
Wow, are we at the 3 month mark already?!
Congrats all!

David Brinza
08-26-2008, 11:14 PM
NASA extended the Phoenix mission to the end of September. The sun is now setting for over an hour each Sol (Mars day): Mars sunrise (http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/phoenix/images.php?fileID=15753)

Mars daylight will continue to decrease as the mid-Sol sun gets lower in the sky until the Arctic winter sets in (when the sun will no longer appear). Already, Phoenix has observed frost forming on the surface. By the end of October, there will not be enough sun energy on the solar panels to keep the batteries charged. After that, in the long Arctic night, carbon dioxide frost will accumulate on Phoenix and the surrounding landscape.

The following spring, the sun will again rise and the frost will sublime. If there isn't too much dust left behind and somehow the batteries/electronics survive the extreme deep freeze, Phoenix may come alive again. There is a "Lazarus" mode for the lander that would allow communications to commence should Phoenix survive the winter.

Check out the Phoenix Twitter (http://twitter.com/MarsPhoenix), there's some very interesting discussion posted there. Some of the Phoenix Ops and Science team are participating as well, so you're able to get the real "scoop" on the mission.