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#176 2008-05-14 16:23:38

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

Re: Phoenix - North Pole Region Lander (PHX)

Science News Briefing - video - 64 mins

Detailed briefings from Peter Smith (Principle Investigator), Ray Arvidson (Landing Site chairman) and Barry Goldstein (Project Manager) - good stuff!


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#177 2008-05-15 04:50:25

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

phoenix-lander-browse.jpg

Landing Events Schedule - 14 May 2008

Times are Pacific Daylight and some are subject to change

Thursday, May 22
-- News briefing, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Saturday, May 24
-- News briefing, noon
-- Trajectory correction maneuver opportunity (TCM6), 7:46 p.m.

Sunday, May 25
<snip>
-- Trajectory correction maneuver opportunity (TCM6X), 8:46 a.m.
-- News briefing, noon
-- Begin non-commentary live television feed from JPL control room, 3 p.m.
-- Begin commentated live television feed from JPL control room, 3:30 p.m.
-- Propulsion system pressurization, 4:16 p.m.
-- Begin "bent-pipe" relay relay (continuous transmission of Phoenix data as it is received) through NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft to Goldstone, Calif., Deep Space Network station, 4:38 p.m.
-- Green Bank, W. Va., radio telescope listening for direct UHF from Phoenix, 4:38 p.m.
-- Cruise stage separates, 4:39 p.m.
-- Spacecraft turns to attitude for atmospheric entry, 4:40 p.m.
-- Spacecraft enters atmosphere, 4:46:33 p.m.
-- Likely blackout period as hot plasma surrounds spacecraft, 4:47 through 4:49 p.m.
-- Parachute deploys, 4:50:15 p.m., plus or minus about 13 seconds.
-- Heat shield jettisoned, 4:50:30 p.m., plus or minus about 13 seconds.
-- Legs deploy, 4:50:40 p.m., plus or minus about 13 seconds. -
- Radar activated, 4:51:30 p.m.
-- Lander separates from backshell, 4:53:09 p.m., plus or minus about 46 seconds.
-- Transmission gap during switch to helix antenna 4:53:08 to 4:53:14 p.m.
-- Descent thrusters throttle up, 4:53:12 p.m.
-- Constant-velocity phase starts, 4:53:34 p.m., plus or minus about 46 seconds.
-- Touchdown, 4:53:52 p.m., plus or minus about 46 seconds.
-- Lander radio off 4:54:52 p.m., plus or minus about 46 seconds.
-- Begin opening solar arrays (during radio silence) 5:13 p.m.
-- Begin NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter playback of Phoenix transmissions recorded during entry, descent and landing, 5:28 p.m. However, data for analysis will not be ready until several hours later.
-- Begin Europe's Mars Express spacecraft playback of Phoenix transmissions recorded during entry, descent and landing, 5:30 p.m. However, data for analysis will not be ready until several hours later.
-- Post-landing poll of subsystem teams about spacecraft status, 5:30 p.m.
-- Mars Odyssey "bent-pipe" relay of transmission from Phoenix, with engineering data and possibly including first images, 6:43 to 7:02 p.m. Data could take up to about 30 additional minutes in pipeline before being accessible. If all goes well, live television feed from control room may show first images as they are received. The first images to be taken after landing will be of solar arrays, to check deployment status.
-- News briefing, 9 p.m.

10 days and counting!


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#178 2008-05-15 19:28:19

dmuller
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From: Australia
Registered: 2008-05-04
Posts: 14

Re: Phoenix - North Pole Region Lander (PHX)

Meanwhile, the following animation has been put up at http://phoenix.lpl.arizona.edu/videos.php#edl_hud, very impressive:

Phoenix EDL Animation - This animation featuring a heads-up display shows second-by second the entry, descent and landing of the Phoenix Mars Lander on May 25, 2008. The animation was created by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Solar System Visualization Project.
Low Bandwidth English Units (5.7 MB)
Low Bandwidth Metric Units (5.7 MB)
High Bandwidth English Units (47.3 MB)
High Bandwidth Metric Units (42.9 MB)

Now all that's missing is a second craft filming Phoenix during its landing and broadcasting live on HDTV  roll

Daniel


Spaceflight resources to share: Phoenix Real-Time Simulation. More soon ...

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#179 2008-05-15 22:31:45

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

Phoenix EDL Animation:

Great animation - it turns the seven minutes of terror into the seven minutes of technology! Beautiful. Must see and hear!!

The EDL teaser trailer is fun too smile

The sequel video of the arm trenching will soon be starting production smile

Thx for the links.

9 days and counting


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#180 2008-05-17 16:07:00

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

The animation and video guys must be working overtime, another release:

Cruising to Mars

Twitter updates

The team is considering a maneuver to nudge my flight path toward a landing spot on Mars 18 kilometers to the NW of where I'm headed now.

8 days ............


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#181 2008-05-18 00:43:53

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

lg_27.jpg
Flight descent thrusters

twitter update:

Trajectory maneuver completed! Engines fired for 3 seconds to nudge course to landing site. All spacecraft subsystems are nominal.

___Altitude above Mars: 1,800,000 km
__Distance to Landing: 14,600.000 km
____Speed relative to Mars: 9,598 km/h

7 days


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#182 2008-05-19 07:01:06

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

phxlandseqad4.jpg
Latest EDL sequence with times and altitudes

From Phoenix Press Kit (PDF 3MB) - dated 8 May 2008

spacecraft status:

___Altitude above Mars: 1,500,000 km
__Distance to Landing: 12,200,000 km
____Speed relative to Mars: 9,608 km/h

6 days


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#183 2008-05-19 08:29:35

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

5 days 7 ½  hours but who is counting.

Vincent


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I don't require agreement when presenting new ideas.

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#184 2008-05-19 11:44:18

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

Not so fast Vincent, it's still 6 days and 6 hours  ... every day counts.

Real-Time Simulation


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#185 2008-05-19 13:35:14

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

From an interview with Tom Pike, who is working on the microscope systems - 19 May 2008

[Question]
NASA is taking great care to explain and make clear this is NOT a mission that is “Looking for life”, although surely Phoenix is playing a vital part in the continuing quest to find life on Mars. All the mission literature makes it plain that Phoenix will not be sending back images of wriggly martian microbes, or fossils, but is that 1000% impossible? In an interview for Nature Network London in Aug 2007 you were asked: So if you hit jackpot, and there are micro-organisms in the samples, would you be able to distinguish between living and fossilized remains? And you said: “If life really is active in the samples we’re looking at, we would look for motion upwards or sideways on the substrates (not just settling under Martian gravity) by taking multiple exposures. We can do effectively time-lapse photography with the optical microscope and AFM. But it might be rather difficult to distinguish between microfossils and dormant spores. We’d be looking to have confirmation from the mass spectrometer of TEGA that there is organic material in the samples.” Does that mean there’s actually a chance Phoenix’s microscope might send us back pictures of something… amazing?

[Tom Pike]
Even if there ever was life on Mars the signature will take a great deal of work to recognise. Phoenix has some important tools to see how likely it might be that such a signature might even exist. But yes, we do have the capability of resolving down to the length scale of some microscopic organisms. Of course that’s no guarantee that we’ll see anything amongst the fine silt particles which actually set the resolution target of the microscope.

[Question]
On the STFC website you said “Nobody has looked at Mars at this type of resolution before. It is very difficult to predict what we might find, but if you wanted to look for signs of the earliest forms of past or present life we will be the first to look closely enough.” Does that mean you think that even if it doesn’t image wriggling martian beasties, the microscope could actually image micro-fossils or some other type of evidence for past life on Mars?

[Tom Pike]
Again, we have the possibility. Fossils are more likely than extant life – the best conditions for life there were several billion years ago. But even if the microfossils are there to be found, we may not be in the right place. On Earth the abundance of microfossils varies enormously - there is no guarantee of imaging them on a planet we know is teeming with life.


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#186 2008-05-19 14:01:28

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

Well, lets give us an out. There are guys that can interpret the data. Hort will give us images and Levin’s is foaming at the mouth.

Now how long we got?

Vincent


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#187 2008-05-20 01:43:37

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

spacecraft status:

___Altitude above Mars: 1,300,000 km
__Distance to Landing: 10,700,000 km
____Speed relative to Mars: 9,614 km/h

Only 5 days now.


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#188 2008-05-21 02:26:31

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

Mars Express mission controllers ready - 20 May 2008

ESA's Mars Express mission control team are ready to monitor Phoenix's critical entry, descent and landing onto the Martian surface on 26 May 2008.

The Mars Express mission control team have completed major preparations for supporting the entry, descent and landing (EDL) phase of NASA's Phoenix mission to the Red Planet. On 25 May, Mars Express will point towards Phoenix's planned entry trajectory and record signals broadcast from the lander as it plunges through the Martian atmosphere.

The recorded data will serve as a useful and potentially crucial back-up to compare Phoenix's planned and actual descent profiles. Landing is planned for 23:38 UTC, 25 May, which is 01:38 CEST, 26 May. 

"We have tested a specially designed slew for our spacecraft, and scheduled a series of data downloads immediately after Phoenix's landing; NASA will receive our recorded data about one hour later," says Michel Denis, Spacecraft Operations Manager at ESOC, ESA's Space Operations Centre, Darmstadt, Germany.

The Mars Express team will monitor the event from the Dedicated Control Room at ESOC.

Effective reuse of on-board lander communications system

Mission controllers will use the MELACOM (Mars Express Lander Communications) system to point towards Phoenix during EDL; the radio instrument was originally intended for communications with the Beagle 2 lander.

Mars Express will perform a high-speed slew as MELACOM tracks Phoenix, rotating about one axis at a speed some two to three times faster than normal; this action has already been tested and confirmed. The orbit phasing of Mars Express was already adjusted at the end of 2007 to provide visibility to Phoenix.

Data recording is scheduled to begin at 23:21 UTC, and run for 26 minutes, until 23:47 UTC.

"Our MELACOM data will enable NASA to confirm the Phoenix lander's descent characteristics, including speed and acceleration through the Mars atmosphere," says Peter Schmitz, Deputy Spacecraft Operations Manager and project lead for Mars Express Phoenix support activities.

MELACOM data will be downloaded to Earth via NASA's Deep Space terminals DSS-15 and DSS-25. After a 15-minute, 20-second light-speed travel time, ESOC will receive the data transmitted from Mars Express, i.e. at 00:40 UTC ( 02:40 CEST). Recorded data will subsequently be downloaded two more times to ensure no loss of packets.

The ESA spacecraft will also fly over Phoenix's intended landing zone, beginning at 06:12 UTC (08:12 CEST) on 26 May and will again monitor signals transmitted up from the surface.

In the following week, Mars Express will monitor Phoenix using MELACOM 14 more times; at least one of these will be used to demonstrate and confirm that the ESA spacecraft can be used as a data relay station for NASA, receiving data from the surface and transmitting test commands to the lander.

Landing blogs

spacecraft status:

___Altitude above Mars: 1,000,000 km
__Distance to Landing:  8,800,000 km
____Speed relative to Mars: 9,626 km/h

Just 4 days


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#189 2008-05-21 06:04:34

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

Well we can still be excited about the visible data and the different interpretations but do not expect any revelations about life on Mars from this mission.


From the NASA Blog

Dr Bass wrote:

Phoenix is not searching for life. That potential discovery is for a future mission that has specific life-detection instruments

Again no relevance to the visible data so even if we landed in a corn field some geographic or non-biological process could not be ruled out. So break out the, “Inconclusive,” stamp, it is over there beside the, “Defrosting dune," stamp.

Some guy named Darwin left a great comment on the Blog, That is one smart dude.

Blog link

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/phoen … 80520.html

Vincent


Argument expected.
I don't require agreement when presenting new ideas.

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#190 2008-05-21 08:14:54

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

If she lands in a corn field, the SSI team would pick that up pretty damn quick smile They will characterize the local surrounding terrain, but the focus of the mission is under the surface. There's also a Meteorological Station that may be of interest to weather watchers. Any forecasts?


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#191 2008-05-21 09:27:29

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

A forecast for the landing area? Why the hell not. I is the man.

Tonight

Rapid cooling after sunset with frost developing in low lying areas. Then becoming cloudy with a 30 percent chance of isolated snow showers after midnight low around -125F winds light and variable

Tomorrow

Morning clouds will give way to afternoon sunshine. Can not rule out an afternoon Dust Devil. Winds light 10-15 mph with higher gust in the vicinity of Dust Devils. Highs around 30F

I hope I made Joe, from Accu-Weather proud

Vincent


Argument expected.
I don't require agreement when presenting new ideas.

-Dana Johnson

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#192 2008-05-21 13:20:00

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

Ringside view during landing? - 19 May 2008

Leonard David

The May 25th entry into Mars’ atmosphere by the Phoenix lander may be under the watchful lens of NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO).

The MRO project has been investigating the possibility of imaging the Phoenix Mars lander during its entry, descent and landing period - as the probe plunges toward the red planet’s arctic region.

MRO would use its High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) gear in attempting to catch the Phoenix in action as it high-dives to its touchdown site.

“The attempt requires that Phoenix be in the HiRISE field of view at the very moment that it temporarily crosses Phoenix’s path,” James Erickson, MRO Project Manager at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory told me.

Erickson made it clear, however, that the degree of difficulty in such sharp-shooting is very high. “We currently believe the probability of acquiring this image is no better than 20 percent or so,” he explained.

Furthermore, MRO’s first priority, Erickson noted, is recording the UHF signal from Phoenix during entry, descent and landing. “We need to make sure that attempting the HiRISE image does not interfere with that,” he added.

A go/no-go decision on whether to try for the MRO image needs to be made later this week, Erickson said.


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#193 2008-05-21 15:05:42

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

phxprelanding50mks2.jpg

Up-to-the-minute map of the Phoenix landing site - 20 May 2008 - Emily Lakdawalla

Since I was befuddled about what that meant about Phoenix' target location, I asked for help from Tim Parker at JPL, who is the acknowledged master of locating and mapping the landing sites of Mars missions, past and future. Tim graciously provided me with the map that he said he will be using on the day of the landing, which shows the current location of the 1, 2, and 3-sigma landing ellipses (for more on what that means, check out my entry with Rob Manning's explanations on that topic). And, for reference, he said that the target point is now 68.151 degrees north, 233.975 degrees east. I've updated my Phoenix landing site page accordingly.


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#194 2008-05-21 18:45:49

dmuller
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From: Australia
Registered: 2008-05-04
Posts: 14

Re: Phoenix - North Pole Region Lander (PHX)

With 4 days to landing, and after 3,700 website visits (a lot for a website of mine) I can announce that the final version of the real-time simulation is now online at http://www.dmuller.net/phoenix. I do not intend to make further changes unless the entry interface and/or nominal landing times change "significantly". Such changes can be made as late as just after TCM 6. Some important information:

Download Speed: I would expect the simulation to take longer to load on May 25. At the moment, all position data is correct on an hourly basis and interpolated in between, but soon this will change to a minute-by-minute basis and requires more data to be loaded into the simulation. Starting from about 30 minutes before landing, all the remaining trajectory information will be loaded into the script when it does its auto-reload, or is accessed for the first time. This may take a while longer than usual, but avoids having to reload the script during the crucial EDL phase. Be patient :-)

Mirror Site: In case anything goes pear-shaped, the simulation is also running at http://www.dmuller.com/phoenix. You can use this site if the main page goes down or becomes too slow. I will not be able to attend to the script or server issues in the last 24 hours before landing as I wont be home, and the server sits in the US where there is a long weekend. On that note: could anybody record the NASA TV feed for me (preferably the one without commentary) ... I'll paypal for postage etc?

Beyond Phoenix: given the interest in the script and feedback I have received, I will create similar scripts in due course. However, I do need to catch up on my "proper", space-unrelated :-( work a bit before continuing (as a freelancer it's easy to 'scale back' work for other more interesting activities, but unfortunately the bank account starts to hurt a month later ...). Top of the list will be New Horizons (because I like that mission) and Messenger (for the upcoming Mercury flyby 2). Updates will be posted to where the Phoenix script sits at the moment. I will also look into creating a spaceflight (& related) outreach online library, so if anybody has any suggestions, you know where to find me.

7.5 million km to go. Good luck Phoenix, we're all waiting to hear from you from the surface of Mars.

Go, Phoenix!


Daniel


Spaceflight resources to share: Phoenix Real-Time Simulation. More soon ...

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#195 2008-05-22 02:06:43

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

228566main_image_1088_800-600.jpg

twitter update:

Navigation looks great & my Li-Ion batteries have been topped off in preps for landing. Hope to provide many more updates in next 3 days!

spacecraft status:

____Altitude above Mars: 862,000 km
__Distance to Landing: 6,900,000 km
____Speed relative to Mars: 9,641 km/h

Three days


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#196 2008-05-22 18:09:13

dmuller
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From: Australia
Registered: 2008-05-04
Posts: 14

Re: Phoenix - North Pole Region Lander (PHX)

Two additional events for your diaries (all in UTC)
21:48:30 (SCET) - 22:03:50 (ERT): Phoenix passes Deimos orbit
22:59:30 (SCET) - 23:14:50 (ERT): Phoenix passes Phobos orbit
this compares to
23:31:13 (SCET) - 23:46:33 (ERT): Entry Interface.

Also have a look at the beautiful landing geometry at the Planetary Society blog http://www.planetary.org/blog/article/00001436/. I'll volunteer to be the first traffic policeman on Mars  8)


Spaceflight resources to share: Phoenix Real-Time Simulation. More soon ...

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#197 2008-05-23 01:07:04

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

Thanks for the update dmuller. Yes, the relay geometry is quite pretty, BTW we covered it last month

Keep up to date with newmars - for all things happening on Mars! wink

spacecraft status: in cruise mode, about to enter Mars Sphere of Influence (SOI)

____Altitude above Mars: 640,000 km and falling
__Distance to Landing: 4,600,000 km and closing
____Speed relative to Mars: 9,665 km/h and accelerating

Two days!!


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#198 2008-05-23 04:00:50

Zydar
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From: UK
Registered: 2007-08-14
Posts: 74

Re: Phoenix - North Pole Region Lander (PHX)

When the lander touches down with three feet firmly on the ground and the camera module is brought into operation, it will be interesting to see what is seen in the immediate area.

Will the camera see a deserted terrain or will it see objects that NASA did not expect to see. From what I researched of the landing ellipse, it will most probably be the latter.

It's a pity that a camera is not on board to monitor the decent as the images of the approaching surface terrain, I believe, would have made for very interesting viewing.

The next trip to the planet should be a manned mission with enough fuel and supplies to last over a year. Having enough fuel, the craft could return after an exploratory period. Large fuel pods could be mounted externally leaving a spacious cabin area for living and supplies. The technology is available, so why not do it.

Anyway, let's hope everything goes well with the touchdown on Sunday.

Zydar

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#199 2008-05-23 05:22:45

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

That's a brave prediction Zydar! This is exploration so we won't know what's there until we get there.

Actually the MARDI descent cam is on board, but it will be turned off because of a fault. MRO will produce excellent images of the location as good as and better than most of the images that MARDI would have taken.

The technology isn't available today to send people to Mars, have a look at all the problems that need to be solved

At 15:33 UTC Mars welcomed Phoenix to its Sphere of Influence


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#200 2008-05-23 12:54:29

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

Lander Briefing - Entry Descent and Landing Overview - 22 May 2008 - video 56 mins

o Fuk Li, NASA Mars Program Manager
o Peter Smith, PHX Principle Investigator
o Barry Goldstein, PHX Project Manager
o Ed Sedivy, Project Manager, Lockheed Martin


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