Many folks would like to see us back on the Moon and developing its resources.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Up from the Ashes: The Genesis of the Phoenix Mission

It takes a long time to develop a mission and sometimes even longer to
get it launched.

Some links about the upcoming Phoenix Mission to Mars.
- LRK -

Up from the Ashes: The Genesis of the Phoenix Mission
June 15, 2007
The origins and inspiration of the Phoenix Mars Mission go back a decade
and more to the successful Mars Pathfinder, the failed Mars Polar Lander
and the discovery of ice by the Mars Odyssey. Like the mythical bird of
the same name, the upcoming exploration journey rises from ashes to fly

In his own words, Phoenix Principal Investigator Peter Smith tells the
story of the science objectives of Phoenix and the implications of what
may be discovered.

A web site with space information including the Phoenix Status Report.
- LRK -

*06/27/07: Phoenix: Status Report. * *Mission: *Phoenix
*Launch Pad: *17-A
*Launch Vehicle:* Delta II 7925
*Launch Date: *August 3, 2007
*Launch Time: *5:35:18 a.m. EDT (09:35:18 UT)

The solar array lighting test and installation of the spacecraft
parachute are complete.

Spacecraft fueling is scheduled for July 2-3.

Spin balance testing is scheduled for July 11-12

At Pad 17-A, the attachment of the nine solid rocket boosters to the
Delta II first stage is complete. Hoisting of the second stage atop the
first stage is scheduled for June 28.

- courtesy of George H. Diller, Kennedy Space Center, Fl.


Launch information, follow links on the page.
- LRK -

Powered by a Boeing Delta II 7925
launch vehicle, Phoenix will begin its mission within a 22 day launch
window in August of 2007. The launch will take place at Cape Canaveral
Air Force Station <> in Florida.

Thanks for looking up with me.
- LRK -

Larry Kellogg

Web Site:
RSS link:

Welcome to the Phoenix Mission, going to the arctic plain of Mars.

Media Resources
+ Launch Press Kit
<> (6.5Mb-PDF)

06.29.07 - Phoenix Set for a Mars Arctic Expedition
Lander will dig for clues to more red planet mysteries.
+ Read More

07.09.07 - Mars Lander Ready for August Launch to Icy Site
NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander, the next mission to the surface of Mars, is
beginning a new phase in preparation for a launch in August 2007.
+ Read More
July 09, 2007

RELEASE: 07-148

NASA Readies Mars Lander for August Launch to Icy Site

WASHINGTON - NASA's next Mars mission will look beneath a frigid arctic
landscape for conditions favorable to past or present life.

Instead of roving to hills or craters, NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander will
claw down into the icy soil of the Red Planet's northern plains. The
robot will investigate whether frozen water near the Martian surface
might periodically melt enough to sustain a livable environment for
microbes. To accomplish that and other key goals, Phoenix will carry a
set of advanced research tools never before used on Mars.

First, however, it must launch from Florida during a three-week period
beginning Aug. 3, then survive a risky descent and landing on Mars next

"Our 'follow the water' strategy for exploring Mars has yielded a string
of dramatic discoveries in recent years about the history of water on a
planet where similarities with Earth were much greater in the past than
they are today," said Doug McCuistion, director of the Mars Exploration
Program at NASA Headquarters, Washington. "Phoenix will complement our
strategic exploration of Mars by being our first attempt to actually
touch and analyze Martian water -- water in the form of buried ice."

NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter found evidence in 2002 to support theories
that large areas of Mars, including the arctic plains, have water ice
within an arm's reach of the surface.

"Phoenix has been designed to examine the history of the ice by
measuring how liquid water has modified the chemistry and mineralogy of
the soil," said Peter Smith, the Phoenix principal investigator at the
University of Arizona, Tucson.

"In addition, our instruments can assess whether this polar environment
is a habitable zone for primitive microbes. To complete the scientific
characterization of the site, Phoenix will monitor polar weather and the
interaction of the atmosphere with the surface."

With its flanking solar panels unfurled, the lander is about 18 feet
wide and 5 feet long. A robotic arm 7.7 feet long will dig to the icy
layer, which is expected to lie within a few inches of the surface. A
camera and conductivity probe on the arm will examine soil and any ice
there. The arm will lift samples to two instruments on the lander's
deck. One will use heating to check for volatile substances, such as
water and carbon-based chemicals that are essential building blocks for
life. The other will analyze the chemistry of the soil.

A meteorology station, with a laser for assessing water and dust in the
atmosphere, will monitor weather throughout the planned three-month
mission during Martian spring and summer. The robot's toolkit also
includes a mast-mounted stereo camera to survey the landing site, a
descent camera to see the site in broader context and two microscopes.

For the final stage of landing, Phoenix is equipped with a pulsed
thruster method of deceleration. The system uses an ultra-lightweight
landing system that allows the spacecraft to carry a heavier scientific
payload. Like past Mars missions, Phoenix uses a heat shield to slow its
high-speed entry, followed by a supersonic parachute that further
reduces its speed to about 135 mph. The lander then separates from the
parachute and fires pulsed descent rocket engines to slow to about 5.5
mph before landing on its three legs.

"Landing safely on Mars is difficult no matter what method you use,"
said Barry Goldstein, the project manager for Phoenix at NASA's Jet
Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "Our team has been testing the
system relentlessly since 2003 to identify and address whatever
vulnerabilities may exist."

Researchers evaluating possible landing sites have used observations
from Mars orbiters to find the safest places where the mission's goals
can be met. The leading candidate site is a broad valley with few
boulders at a latitude equivalent to northern Alaska.

Smith leads the Phoenix mission, with project management at the Jet
Propulsion Laboratory and the development partnership located at
Lockheed Martin, Denver. International contributions are provided by the
Canadian Space Agency, the University of Neuchatel, Switzerland, the
University of Copenhagen, Denmark, the Max Planck Institute, Germany,
and the Finnish Meteorological Institute.

Additional information on the Phoenix mission is available online at:

Additional information on NASA's Mars program is available online at:




No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Moon and Mars - Videos