Phoenix - Mars landing preview webcast

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 To learn more about the Phoenix mission, visit

…but surely cool enough to consume some of your company’s bandwidth during those office-friendly hours. :smiley:



i wonder if it’s gonna end up lasting years longer then they expected like the other two rovers from '04.

Steve said something about wanting to go to the landing party at the University of Arizona (where he goes to school)…

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

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

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.

woo - we’re getting close.

Hopefully all will go well this weekend.

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.

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).

The Science Channel will be broadcasting the Phoenix landing live as a two-hour special tonight from 7pm-9pm EDT, on the Science Channel and on Science Channel HD.

2-1/2 hours to go. Live blog from the landing team. 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


Under 30 minutes until landing! Webcast

I am watching also…if you arn’t watching you should do it NOW!

I swear, I can see stress waves radiating through the air there…

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


Parachute deployed!

Edit: and jettisoned!


The Phoenix has landed.

:smiley: 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?

Down safe. Now to analyze the soil!

Congratulations NASA/JPL/LM on a successful landing!

Here’s to some good science!

That was awesome when he was calling out the height. So much suspense.

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…