Phoenix Lands And Returns Pictures

Ain’t the 21st century grand?

They may have been holding their collective breath at JPL this evening, but already, barely 2 hours and two Mars specials on the Discovery Channel, the Phoenix lander touched down, successfully deployed it’s solar arrays and began to return pictures. In the rocket science biz, this is know technically as A GOOD THING. Very good, in fact. Failure to accomplish any of those meant instant mission failure.

For the next few hours, mission specialists will be “shaking down” the instruments and determining exactly where Phoenix landed within the landing ellipse.

At 10:30 pm, EDT, it appears that the Planetary society’s web server had melted from the load. When they come back, the main (and only!) thrust of Emily Lakdawalla‘s reporting will be on the Phoenix, live from JPL.

In the mean time, here is the U. of Arizona’s main mission site.

NASA’s Phoenix spacecraft landed in the northern polar region of Mars today to begin three months of examining a site chosen for its likelihood of having frozen water within reach of the lander’s robotic arm.Radio signals received at 4:53:44 p.m. Pacific Time (7:53:44 p.m. Eastern Time) confirmed the Phoenix Mars Lander had survived its difficult final descent and touchdown 15 minutes earlier. The signals took that long to travel from Mars to Earth at the speed of light.

Update: Picts. are coming in every few minutes now, and being shown almost instantly at the Phoenix site.

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