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#51 2007-01-31 15:33:58

RedStreak
Banned
From: Illinois
Registered: 2006-05-12
Posts: 541

Re: Phoenix - North Pole Region Lander (PHX)

Major eek reminescent of the asteroid mission Dawn.  At least they mention the other three prospective landing sites turned out to be good.

This may prove to be the last 'traditional' lander on Mars - given the immense success of Sojourner and its successors mobility is in.  I imagine the only thing in the future that'd remain stationary would either be a penetrator (which given Deep Space 2's performance may be unlikely) or the Mars Sample Return.

Hopfully Phoenix will find something interesting within its reach.  God forbid it repeat its predicessor's fate.  sad

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#52 2007-01-31 15:48:01

cIclops
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Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: Phoenix - North Pole Region Lander (PHX)

This may prove to be the last 'traditional' lander on Mars - given the immense success of Sojourner and its successors mobility is in.  I imagine the only thing in the future that'd remain stationary would either be a penetrator (which given Deep Space 2's performance may be unlikely) or the Mars Sample Return.

The NETLANDER project has been around a while - it's a network of fixed geophysical and meteorological stations.


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#53 2007-01-31 15:58:11

RedStreak
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Posts: 541

Re: Phoenix - North Pole Region Lander (PHX)

I read about that - shame it's long since been canceled.  I would be thrilled for some kind of Mars Multiprobe mission with little landers.  Obviously good concept for weather and seismology.

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#54 2007-02-01 02:22:49

cIclops
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Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: Phoenix - North Pole Region Lander (PHX)

The 2016 NASA launch opportunity mission is currently described as "Astrobiology Field Laboratory or Mid-Size Rovers or Network Landers " - so it may happen then.


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#55 2007-02-09 19:40:16

SpaceNut
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Re: Phoenix - North Pole Region Lander (PHX)

Landing site has to many large boulders so Nasa is in a scramble to select another place to land.

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#56 2007-04-24 03:24:03

cIclops
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Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: Phoenix - North Pole Region Lander (PHX)

Finding a smooth path

by Tony Fitzpatrick

April 16, 2007 -- Earth and planetary scientists at Washington University in St. Louis are paving the way for a smooth landing on Mars for the Phoenix Mission scheduled to launch in August this year by making sure the set-down literally is not a rocky one.

A Washington University undergraduate student in Earth and Planetary Sciences in Arts & Sciences is playing a key role in finding a safe, non-rocky environment for the Phoenix lander. NASA veteran Raymond Arvidson and undergraduate Tabatha Heet describe how they've found their spot.

A team led by Raymond E. Arvidson, Ph.D., James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor in Arts & Sciences, has been analyzing images taken from a NASA instrument to make sure that the Phoenix spacecraft lands in a spot on the Red planet's northern plains that is relatively rock-free.

"The craft has to land in a place unlikely to have slopes more than 16 degrees relative to horizontal, and it shouldn't have very many rocks higher than 30 to 40 centimeters (roughly one foot high)," said Arvidson, who also is chair of the Washington University earth and planetary sciences department. "We've been looking for locations big enough and homogeneous enough for a high probability of a successful landing. The issue isn't slopes. The issue is rocks."

If the lander would come down in an area with rocks roughly the same size as the lander or larger, the whole craft could tilt or tip over. Another problem with rocks is the craft's solar panels; large rocks would prevent the unfurling of the craft's solar panels, which are circular and rotate open. Without solar power, which drives seven Phoenix mission instruments, there isn't much of a mission.

Lynchpin of this meticulous, painstaking task of finding a smooth landing is a 21-year-old junior Washington University earth and planetary sciences major, who began working with Arvidson as a work-study student in 2005. Tabatha Heet, from Jefferson City, Mo., began the project in October of 2006.

"Ray asked if I would count some rocks in the original landing area, and I got started, thinking it was going to be a one-time thing," said Heet, who is a student in the university's acclaimed Pathfinder Program, a challenging, interdisciplinary curriculum with an environmental emphasis. "But it's turned into a big project. I've counted thousands of rocks now."

Heet gets large images from an instrument called HIRISE, a feature of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Mission, which permits the viewing of rocks as small as roughly a yard across. Tabatha Heet, a junior earth and planetary sciences major and Pathfinder student, shows Ray Arvidson, earth and planetary sciences department chair, a potential landing site for the Phoenix mission to Mars, set to launch in August.

Before HIRISE images were available, Arvidson and his colleagues settled on a region called Region B for the future landing.

"The first images for Region B were scary," Arvidson said. "There are rocks there bigger than the lander — too many big rocks sitting on craters to fit in a landing site."

Studying the HIRISE images, they looked elsewhere. Heet pieced out all of the quantitative data on the abundance of rocks at different places on the northern plains that allowed Arvidson and others to "zero in on the safe havens," Arvidson said.

Heet used ENVI, a software package that displays images and makes measurements.

"All you have to do is draw a line on the image," she said. "And then ENVI will tell you how long the line is in meters. I go through the image and pick just a small area because the HIRISE images are too big for one person to count. I'll make a little subset and then go count every rock in the subset just by drawing a line where I see the shadow of the rock.

"It's very slow and makes your eyes go crazy," she said.

She counted rocks in little areas of the large images and made cumulative frequency plots — of diameter of the rocks vs. the number of rocks bigger than that diameter. Research colleagues, Amy Knudson, a postdoctoral researcher, and Pat McGuire, the Robert Walker senior fellow, came up with maps that extrapolated beyond what Heet counted. This year, she was assisted by freshman Lauren Barry, a fellow Pathfinder student.

Arvidson and Heet flew out to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in February. She received a warm round of applause at her introduction to JPL researchers, and scientists questioned her on her technique and her stamina. Later, she encountered a team of automated rock counters who "aggressively" questioned the way she had been counting rocks. At the meeting, the automated rock counters calibrated their computed accounts to Heet's hand counts, which are considered "ground truth,' on which all subsequential data are based. She has since corresponded with the group regularly to help get the automated counts more precise.

"The automated rock counters map the shape of the shadows and from knowing where the sun is, they can compute the rock height and width, but they need very intense validation," said Arvidson. ""Tab was the point contact for all of that. We've cross-calibrated against the automated counts because the hand-derived ones are considered anchors. It's still the case that a human can do a better job with fewer errors as long as the person is not fatigued."

Heet's work has led to the discovery of several potential landing sites with at least ten times fewer rocks than the original Region B, including one desirable location about 50 kilometers wide and 250 meters deep, that Arvidson and the group call Green Valley.

In addition to leading the effort to finding good landing sites for the Phoenix Mission, Arvidson is co-investigator of the robotic arm team and leads the archiving of data from that mission, as in past missions. He'll oversee the gathering of soil and water-ice samples and the function of the robotic arm camera, which will take images of soil, water-ice and trench walls. He'll lead the efforts focused on interpreting the mineralogy and geomorphology of this part of Mars.


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#57 2007-05-05 03:56:48

cIclops
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Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: Phoenix - North Pole Region Lander (PHX)

Lockheed Martin Builds Next Mars Lander For NASA - 4 May 2007

(includes video of latest preparations)

Jodi Brooks
Reporting

(CBS4) LAKEWOOD, Colo. The latest probe headed to Mars was being packed for shipment Thursday at Lockheed Martin's Waterton Canyon facility in Jefferson County. The Phoenix will be flown to NASA in Florida next Monday before blasting-off into space in August.

Scientists hope the lander will answer the question about whether life existed on the red planet.

"Analyze that ice and see if maybe we can find organic compounds which are conducive to life," said Gary Napier, a Lockheed Martin spokesperson. "We're not looking for life, but we're seeing if traces of life exist."


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#58 2007-05-08 15:31:35

Yang Liwei Rocket
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Registered: 2004-03-03
Posts: 993

Re: Phoenix - North Pole Region Lander (PHX)

vid_lander2.jpg

Checkout the videos, in particular:

Rough-Cut Entry, Descent, and Landing Animation  (Dan Maas)

Thanks for these vids, they are great


'first steps are not for cheap, think about it...
did China build a great Wall in a day ?' ( Y L R newmars forum member )

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#59 2007-05-08 19:19:41

cIclops
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Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: Phoenix - North Pole Region Lander (PHX)

ne_76.jpg
Phoenix lander arrives at Kennedy Space Center

A U.S. Air Force C-17 cargo aircraft carried NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander spacecraft Monday, May 7, from Colorado to Florida, where Phoenix will start a much longer trip in August.

After launch, Phoenix will land on a Martian arctic plain next spring. It will use a robotic digging arm and other instruments to determine whether the soil environment just beneath the surface could have been a favorable habitat for microbial life. Studies from orbit suggest that within arm's reach of the surface, the soil holds frozen water.

"This is a critical milestone for our mission," said Peter Smith of the University of Arizona, Tucson, principal investigator for Phoenix. "Our expert engineering team has completed assembly and testing of the spacecraft. The testing shows our instruments are capable of meeting the high-level requirements for the mission."

Workers have been assembling and testing the spacecraft for more than a year in Denver. "We're excited to be going back to Mars," said Ed Sedivy, Phoenix program manager at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co., Denver. "Assembly, integration and testing of the spacecraft have gone very well. We delivered Phoenix stowed inside its back shell and it will stay in that configuration until it lands softly on Mars."

A Delta II launch vehicle will start Phoenix on its longer trip from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. The earliest possible launch time will be Aug. 3, at 5:35 a.m. EDT. Opportunities for energy-efficient launches to Mars come about every two years. Orbital geometries of Mars and Earth make this year particularly favorable for sending a lander to far-northern Mars to arrive when sunshine is at a maximum there.

"The arctic plains are the right place for the next step in Mars exploration, and this is the right time to go there," said Leslie Tamppari, Phoenix project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "We expect to touch Martian ice for the first time, a real leap in NASA's follow-the-water strategy. The lander needs solar energy, and we will arrive for a three-month prime mission right at the end of northern Mars' spring."

Phoenix will be prepared for launch in a payload processing facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Florida. The first checkout activity will be a spin-balance test May 10 and 11. This will be followed on May 15 by installation of the heat shield and then a separation test. The next major milestones, during the third week of May, will be a landing radar integration test and launch system verification test. The last week of May will include an entry, descent and landing system verification test, followed by a guidance navigation and control test.

The rocket that will launch Phoenix is a Delta II 7925, manufactured by United Launch Alliance, Denver. The first stage is scheduled to be hoisted into the launcher of Pad 17-A at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station the third week of June. Nine strap-on solid rocket boosters will then be raised and attached. The second stage, which burns hypergolic propellants, will be hoisted atop the first stage the first week of July. The fairing, which surrounds the spacecraft, will then be hoisted into the clean room of the mobile service tower.

Next, engineers will perform several tests of the Delta II. In mid-July, as a leak check, the first stage will be loaded with liquid oxygen during a simulated countdown. The next day, a simulated flight test will be performed, simulating the vehicle's post-liftoff flight events without fuel aboard. The electrical and mechanical systems of the entire Delta II will be exercised during this test. Once the Phoenix payload is placed atop the launch vehicle in the third week of July, a major test will be conducted: an integrated test of the Delta II and Phoenix working together. This will be a combined minus count and plus count, simulating all events as they will take place on launch day, but without propellants aboard the vehicle. Finally, one week before launch, the Delta II payload fairing will be installed around the Phoenix lander.


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#60 2007-05-13 05:14:42

cIclops
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Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: Phoenix - North Pole Region Lander (PHX)

07pd1098-m.jpg
Closeup inside the backshell with the heatshield removed - imaged 10 May 2007 at KSC

more images of preparations in the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility


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#61 2007-05-13 19:47:39

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 23,851

Re: Phoenix - North Pole Region Lander (PHX)

'Bunny-suited' technicians work to give new lander a clean start

What a list of action items before launch day...

Between now and July 23, when Phoenix goes to launch pad 17A, it will go through:
* Software testing.
* Communications simulation testing.
* Landing radar installation.
* Installation of parachute explosives.
* Installation of its solar array and testing.
* Fuel loading an ultra-pure hydrazine, so as not to contaminate the ground when the retros fire to soften landing.
* A spin testing to assure that the payload's center of gravity is neutral.
* Mating the lander up with the launch vehicle on July 16.

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#62 2007-05-21 06:08:02

cIclops
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Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: Phoenix - North Pole Region Lander (PHX)

07pd1221-m.jpg
Heat shield deployment test - imaged 16 May 2007


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#63 2007-06-09 13:55:22

cIclops
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Registered: 2005-06-16
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Re: Phoenix - North Pole Region Lander (PHX)

07pd1380-m.jpg
Technicians integrating the landing radar in the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility - imaged 5 Jun 2007


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#64 2007-06-21 00:54:11

cIclops
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Re: Phoenix - North Pole Region Lander (PHX)

07pd1574-m.jpg
Solar panel deployment testing - imaged 20 Jun 2007


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#65 2007-06-21 01:44:17

cIclops
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Re: Phoenix - North Pole Region Lander (PHX)

Up from the Ashes: The Genesis of the Phoenix Mission - (video 7:57 mins / 23 MB)

June 15, 2007
The origins and inspiration of the Phoenix Mars Mission go back a decade and more to the successful Mars Pathfinder, the failed Mars Polar Lander and the discovery of ice by the Mars Odyssey. Like the mythical bird of the same name, the upcoming exploration journey rises from ashes to fly again.

In his own words, Phoenix Principal Investigator Peter Smith tells the story of the science objectives of Phoenix and the implications of what may be discovered.


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#66 2007-06-24 05:33:05

cIclops
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Registered: 2005-06-16
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Re: Phoenix - North Pole Region Lander (PHX)

phoenixgutses4.jpg

Just had to add this image!


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#67 2007-06-24 11:55:00

cIclops
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Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: Phoenix - North Pole Region Lander (PHX)

Live video inside the processing area (realplayer video stream)

39 days and 4 hours to launch!


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#68 2007-07-09 19:43:48

SpaceNut
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#69 2007-07-09 23:59:50

cIclops
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Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: Phoenix - North Pole Region Lander (PHX)

Mars Lander for August Launch to Icy Site

"Landing safely on Mars is difficult no matter what method you use," said Barry Goldstein, the project manager for Phoenix at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "Our team has been testing the system relentlessly since 2003 to identify and address whatever vulnerabilities may exist."

Mission press kit (PDF 6.5MB) - full of details and facts


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#70 2007-07-20 05:11:37

cIclops
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Re: Phoenix - North Pole Region Lander (PHX)

07pd1910-m.jpg
Attached to the third stage rocket motor - imaged 17 Jul 2007


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#71 2007-07-23 02:44:07

cIclops
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Registered: 2005-06-16
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Re: Phoenix - North Pole Region Lander (PHX)

Phoenix: A Science and Weather Station on Mars - JPL webcast lecture (video 73 mins)

Introduction to the mission and details of the instruments by Dr. Leslie Tamppari, Project Scientist


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#72 2007-07-27 03:48:32

cIclops
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Re: Phoenix - North Pole Region Lander (PHX)

07pd2100-m.jpg
Inside the mobile service tower of Launch Pad 17-A at Cape Canaveral and mated to the Delta II launch vehicle - imaged 23 Jul 2007


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#73 2007-07-31 09:58:35

cIclops
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Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: Phoenix - North Pole Region Lander (PHX)

181866main_fairing.jpg
Half of the fairing is installed around the spacecraft and the upper stages

Spaceflight.com reports launch is delayed 24 hours

Anticipated stormy weather in the Cape Canaveral area this afternoon has caused a ripple effect in preparations to launch the Phoenix lander bound for Mars, forcing NASA to postpone the liftoff aboard a Delta 2 rocket by 24 hours.

Originally set for early Friday, the launch has been rescheduled for Saturday morning. Liftoff will be possible during a pair of one-second launch windows at 5:26 and 6:02 a.m. EDT.

Today's expected bad weather is interrupting work to pump storable propellants into the rocket's second stage at pad 17A. Technicians filled the stage's oxidizer tank this morning. However, the forecast of afternoon thunderstorms will preclude the loading of hydrazine fuel into the stage later today as planned.

Air Force meteorologists monitor the conditions across the Cape and issue lightning advisories when the weather becomes unsafe for technicians to remain at the launch pads. Clearing the pads for weather alerts then causes work to fall behind schedule.

The hydrazine loading will occur tomorrow morning. But fitting that activity into the timeline wrecks the overall schedule for other pre-flight activities, prompting the one-day slip in the launch date.

"There is not enough contingency time," a NASA spokesperson said.

The second stage uses storable nitrogen tetroxide and a hydrazine blend called Aerozine 50 to power its Aerojet AJ118-K engine. The stage fires twice during the launch to boost Phoenix toward its Earth departure trajectory.

The weather outlook for Saturday morning's launch times predicts an 80 percent chance of favorable conditions, with clouds the only worry.


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#74 2007-08-04 05:06:32

noosfractal
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From: Biosphere 1
Registered: 2005-10-04
Posts: 824
Website

Re: Phoenix - North Pole Region Lander (PHX)

And she's away ...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070804/ap_ … ix_mars_12

The unmanned Delta rocket carrying the Phoenix Mars Lander rose from its seaside pad at 5:26 a.m., exactly on time, and hurtled through the clear moonlit sky. It was easily visible for nearly five minutes, a bright orange speck in a spray of stars.

If all goes as planned — a big if considering only five of the world's 15 attempts to land on Mars have succeeded — the spacecraft will set down on the Martian Arctic plains on May 25, 2008


Fan of Red Oasis

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#75 2007-08-04 11:17:03

Mark Friedenbach
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From: Mountain View, CA
Registered: 2003-01-31
Posts: 325

Re: Phoenix - North Pole Region Lander (PHX)

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