Mars Phoenix: We Got Touchdown

This time there weren't any imperial vs metric units frack-ups: the Phoenix Mars Lander touched down perfectly on the northern polar region of Mars, starting a three-month mission that will see the spacecraft digging in the dirt for frozen water and tiny green men.


NASA received the first signals at 7:53:44PM Eastern Time, which made engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California; Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver; and the University of Arizona, Tucson, to jump on their seats overjoyed. We can't blame them: this is just the third time in history that a spacecraft has completed a soft landing on the red planet, 32 years after Viking 2. Now we only have to wait a couple more days to see if everything, including the critical 7.7-foot-long robotic scoop arm, is in working condition.


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