One of the landers legs and the Mars surface-looking good
Wednesday, 28 May 2008
One of the landers legs and the Mars surface-looking good
Monday, 26 May 2008
NASA's Mars Phoenix Lander can be seen parachuting down to Mars, in this image captured by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. This is the first time that a spacecraft has imaged the final descent of another spacecraft onto a planetary body.
From a distance of about 760 kilometers (472 miles) above the surface of the Red Planet, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter pointed its HiRISE obliquely toward Phoenix shortly after it opened its parachute while descending through the Martian atmosphere. The image reveals an apparent 10-meter-wide (30-foot-wide) parachute fully inflated. The bright pixels below the parachute show a dangling Phoenix. The image faintly detects the chords attaching the backshell and parachute. The surroundings look dark, but corresponds to the fully illuminated Martian surface, which is much darker than the parachute and backshell.
The HiRISE, acquired this image on May 25, 2008, at 4:36 p.m. Pacific Time (7:36 p.m. Eastern Time). It is a highly oblique view of the Martian surface, 26 degrees above the horizon, or 64 degrees from the normal straight-down imaging of Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The image has a scale of 0.76 meters per pixel.
This image has been brightened to show the patterned surface of Mars in the background.
Sunday, 25 May 2008
Friday, 23 May 2008
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIF. 91109 TELEPHONE 818-354-5011
Guy Webster 818-354-6278/5011
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
Dwayne Brown 202-358-1726
NASA Headquarters, Washington
STATUS REPORT: 2008-079 May 22, 2008
Phoenix Spacecraft on Course for May 25 Mars Landing
PASADENA, Calif. -- With three days and 3 million miles left to fly before arriving at
Mars, NASA's Phoenix spacecraft is on track for its destination in the Martian arctic.
"The latest calculation from our navigation team shows the center of the area where we're
currently headed lies less than eight miles from the center of our target area," said Barry
Goldstein, Phoenix project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
"We may decide on Saturday that we don't need to use our final opportunity for fine tuning
the trajectory Phoenix is on. Either way, we will continue to monitor the trajectory
throughout Saturday night, on the off chance we need to execute our contingency
maneuver eight hours before entry."
The spacecraft is in fine health.
"All systems are nominal and stable," said Ed Sedivy, Phoenix spacecraft program
manager for Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, which built the spacecraft. "We
have plenty of propellant, the temperatures look good and the batteries are fully charged."
The spacecraft is closing in on the scariest seven minutes of the mission.
On Sunday, shortly after the annual 500-mile race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway,
Phoenix will be approaching Mars at about 12,750 miles per hour, a speed that could cover
500 miles in 2 minutes and 22 seconds. After it enters the top of the Martian atmosphere at
that velocity, it must use superheated friction with the atmosphere, a strong parachute and a
set of pulsing retrorockets to achieve a safe, three-legged standstill touchdown on the
surface in just seven minutes.
The earliest possible time when mission controllers could get confirmation from Phoenix
indicating it has survived landing will be at 4:53 p.m. Pacific Time on Sunday (7:53 p.m.
Eastern Time). Of 11 previous attempts that various nations have made to land spacecraft
on Mars, only five have succeeded.
Phoenix will land farther north on Mars than any previous mission, at a site expected to
have ice-rich permafrost beneath the surface, but within reach of the lander's robotic arm.
"Last instructions were given to the science team at our final meeting at the University of
Arizona Tuesday," said Phoenix Principal Investigator Peter Smith of the University of
Arizona, Tucson. "This week, we are conducting our dress rehearsal before opening night
on Sunday." The science team is slowly adjusting to working on Mars time, in which each
day lasts 24.66 hours, in preparation for a demanding mission.
Smith said, "We are ready to robotically operate our science lab in the Martian arctic and
dig through the layers of history to the ice-rich soil below."
Phoenix is equipped to study the history of the water now frozen into the site's permafrost,
to check for carbon-containing chemicals that are essential ingredients for life, and to
monitor polar-region weather on Mars from a surface perspective for the first time.
The Phoenix mission is led by Smith at the University of Arizona with project
management at JPL and development partnership at Lockheed Martin. International
contributions come from the Canadian Space Agency; the University of Neuchatel,
Switzerland; the universities of Copenhagen and Aarhus, Denmark; Max Planck Institute,
Germany; and the Finnish Meteorological Institute. For more about Phoenix, visit:
http://www.nasa.gov/phoenix and http://phoenix.lpl.arizona.edu .
- end -
Thursday, 22 May 2008
Today on the Phoenix Blog: Spacecraft Status, Questions Answered
05.21.09 -- If you were hitching a ride on Phoenix, right now Mars would look about a third the size of the full moon viewed from Earth.
Go to blog, post your comments
Phoenix Mission Briefings
May 22, 2:30 p.m. (11:30 a.m. Pacific)
May 24, 3:00 p.m. (12:00 p.m. Pacific)
May 25, 3:00 p.m. (12:00 p.m. Pacific)
May 25, NASA TV coverage begins 6:30 p.m. (3:30 p.m. Pacific)
May 25, Landing on Mars at approximately 7:53 p.m. (4:53 p.m. Pacific)
› NASA TV on the Web
› Schedule of landing events
› Landing Press Kit (3Mb)
Rover Family Portrait
Few Rocks in Target Area for Phoenix Mars Lander
Polygon Patterned Ground on Mars and on Earth
Phoenix successfully performed a maneuver on May 17 to adjust its course slightly toward the center of the approved landing area.
NASA news briefings, live commentary and updates before and after the scheduled Sunday, May 25 arrival of the agency's Phoenix Mars Lander will be available on NASA Television and on the Web.
It will be a real nail-biter on May 25, 2008, for engineers, as the Phoenix spacecraft performs a series of challenging maneuvers right before it lands on Mars.› View This Video
The word "cruise" implies that this is an easy phase of the mission, however nothing could be further from the truth.› View This Video
On Saturday August 4, the Mars Phoenix spacecraft launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Page Last Updated: May 21, 2008
Page Editor: Susan Watanabe
NASA Official: Brian Dunbar