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Mars Phoenix Lander touches down!

May 28, 2008

Phoenix landing

Yes, this is an image from the Mars Reconaissance Orbiter of the Phoenix Lander under its parachute, on its final decent onto the Martian surface. I know it landed on Sunday, but I just found this image today and it’s too good to miss! It’s the first shot ever of a vehicle landing on another world, taken by another vehicle orbiting there.

Phoenix Lander

Artist’s conception of the Phoenix on Mars.

The Phoenix started life as the Mars Surveyor Lander, but the project was cancelled. It includes instruments that were supposed to be on the Mars Polar Lander, which failed to return data in 1999. It was  rebuilt before it was launched last August (new solar cells, etc.). The project has been conducted jointly by NASA, JPL and the University of Arizona. See the web site.

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