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

Sunday, August 05, 2007

*Phoenix Heads for Mars, Spacecraft Healthy
*Image above: (08/04/2007) A Delta II rocket lit up the early morning sky
over Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida as it carried the Phoenix
spacecraft on the first leg of its journey to Mars. The powerful three-stage
rocket with nine solid rocket motors lifted off at 5:26 a.m. EDT.
Image Credit: NASA
+ View larger image

The Phoenix spacecraft has separated from the Delta II rocket and ground
controllers at NASA's Deep Space Network have acquired its signal and
begun assessing its health. The solar panels that will power the
mission's cruise phase will be deployed and Phoenix will be pointed to
best receive solar power and communicate with Earth.

The spacecraft has oriented itself to the sun as it was programmed to
do. It will use solar panels to generate electricity during the
nine-month coast to Mars. A separate set of solar arrays is attached to
the lander itself.

The Phoenix Mars lander's assignment is to dig through the Martian soil
and ice in the arctic region and use its onboard scientific instruments
to analyze the samples it retrieves.

*Media Resources*
+ Audio clips from Aug. 2, 2007, briefing
+ Launch Press Kit (6.5Mb-PDF)
+ Phoenix Fact Sheet (244Kb - PDF)
+ Spacecraft and rocket processing images
+ Planned Mars landing site for Phoenix (high resolution image)

+ Listen to Journey to the Martian North Pole
+ View Phoenix Webcast

I listen and read about our slowness to go back to the Moon. It wasn't
politically correct.
One would like to just be able to propose a mission and see it happen
within your lifetime.

Sometimes it just seems like time stands still.
Other missions catch the ear of those that control the purse strings,
and they get funded.
There just are not enough gold coins in the purse for everyone and
some go hungry.

Then again, some with a vision find ways to use what is left from
missions failed or left behind in the scramble for the purse strings.
As you look behind the curtains and see the workings of the stage hands,
you get an appreciation for just not giving up.

Do take a look at the Phoenix Mission. Here we have the University of
Arizona, a public university leading a mission to Mars.
- LRK -

Phoenix Has Launched!
by Jesse Cornia & Sara Hammond
August 4, 2007

At 5:26 EDT the Delta II Rocket carrying the Phoenix Mars Lander lifted
off from its launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Base.
In less than 90 minutes the spacecraft had left Earth's orbit headed for
the Red Planet. This marks the beginning of Phoenix's 10 month cruise to
Phoenix will land on the northern plains of Mars and will dig into the
soil and water-ice looking for evidence of past habitability.


Alright, it has launched and it will take some time to get to Mars.
Turn around and look up. There is a lunar eclipse happening this month.
See Science @ NASA info below.
- LRK -

Thanks for looking up with me.
- LRK -

Larry Kellogg

Web Site:
RSS link:
NASA Science News for August 3, 2007

Mark your calendar: On Tuesday, August 28th, there's going to be a
dreamy, colorful, total eclipse of the Moon.


The Science@NASA Podcast feed is available at

/Launch:/ August, 2007
/Arrival:/ May 25, 2008


The Phoenix mission is the first chosen for NASA's Scout program, an
initiative for smaller, lower-cost, competed spacecraft. Named for the
resilient mythological bird, Phoenix uses a lander that was intended for
use by 2001's Mars Surveyor lander prior to its cancellation. It also
carries a complex suite of instruments that are improved variations of
those that flew on the lost Mars Polar Lander.

In the continuing pursuit of water on Mars, the poles are a good place
to probe, as water ice is found there. Phoenix will land on the icy
northern pole of Mars between 65 and 75-north latitude. During the
course of the 150 Martian day mission, Phoenix will deploy its robotic
arm and dig trenches up to half a meter (1.6 feet) into the layers of
water ice. These layers, thought to be affected by seasonal climate
changes, could contain organic compounds that are necessary for life.

To analyze soil samples collected by the robotic arm, Phoenix will carry
an "oven" and a "portable laboratory." Selected samples will be heated
to release volatiles that can be examined for their chemical composition
and other characteristics.

Imaging technology inherited from both the Pathfinder and Mars
Exploration Rover missions will also be implemented in Phoenix's stereo
camera, located on its 2-meter (6.6-foot) mast. The camera's two "eyes"
will reveal a high-resolution perspective of the landing site's geology,
and will also provide range maps that will enable the team to choose
ideal digging locations. Multi-spectral capability will enable the
identification of local minerals.

To update our understanding of martian atmospheric processes, Phoenix
will also scan the martian atmosphere up to 20 kilometers (12.4 miles)
in altitude, obtaining data about the formation, duration and movement
of clouds, fog, and dust plumes. It will also carry temperature and
pressure sensors.

For more information on the Phoenix mission, visit:


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