Samstag, 17. Mai 2008

Project Phoenix

If all goes according to plan, on Sunday May 25th the Phoenix Lander will touch down on the surface of Mars. It isn't going to be easy. Unlike the last two Rover missions, that intentionally crashed and bounced onto the planet, this mission is supposed to have a soft landing. Because of that, selecting an appropriate landing site was a challenge, they had to find a place without too many rocks. Dr. Ray Arvidson, from the University of Washington in St. Louis, is the co-investigator for the mission, and he played a key role in identifying the right place for the lander to come down. Once on Mars, the lander will be digging into the soil, looking for evidence of water, and other molecules that might indicate whether Mars would have ever supported life. At the same time, a Canadian weather station will be looking up, to learn about the temperature and pressure on the surface of Mars in this Northern region. Dr. Peter Taylor, from York University is part of the team looking at Mars' weather. He's particularly interested in the dust and how it's moving in the atmosphere, since dust plays a key role in controlling heat flow through the air.

mp3 from the Canadian Broadcast

Update: The Phoenix has landed... (26.05.2008)

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Washington Univ. St. Louis/Univ. of Arizona
The planned landing site for Phoenix Mars Lander lies at a latitude on Mars equivalent to northern Alaska on Earth. It is within the region designated "D" on this global image.

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