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"Seven Minutes Of Terror"

by John M. White |

Today at about 7:22pm EST the Mars lander dubbed “Phoenix” will attempt a difficult landing at the North Pole of Mars. Considering that NASA has not had a successful soft landing since Viking in 1976, the controllers at Jet Propulsion Laboratory are nervous. The Phoenix must slow from over 12,000 mph to less than 5 mph in order to safely land.

 

Phoenix will use an eight (8’) foot arm to analyze dirt and ice samples for traces of organic compounds which are the building blocks of life. Phoenix is a “retread”, built from a lander that was scrapped after the Polar Lander disaster. This mission is led by the University of Arizona, and is the first public university to lead a mission to Mars. The Phoenix is the first in NASA’s “Scout Program”, a program designed to be highly innovative, relatively low cost and to compliment major missions planned as part of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program.

If you are interested in more information you can track the progress at http://phoenix.lpl.arizona.edu/ Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7

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