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Latest Mars landing Stories

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2008-06-08 19:00:00

TUCSON, Ariz. -- The arm of NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander released a handful of clumpy Martian soil onto a screened opening of a laboratory instrument on the spacecraft Friday, but the instrument did not confirm that any of the sample passed through the screen. Engineers and scientists on the Phoenix team assembled at the University of Arizona are determining the best approach to get some of that material into the instrument. Meanwhile, the team has developed commands for the spacecraft to use...

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2008-06-06 10:00:00

NASA scientists said on Thursday that the Phoenix lander, in its search for signs of life on Mars, has returned the highest-resolution pictures ever taken of dust and sand on the surface of another planet.The $420-million craft touched down May 25 on the arctic circle of Mars after a 10-month, 420-million-mile (680-million-km) journey from Earth.An optical microscope took the pictures, revealing particles"”some as small as one-tenth the diameter of a human hair"”that were...

2008-05-27 16:47:32

This story was updated at 4:13 p.m. EDT. PASADENA, Calif. A spacecraft orbiting Mars has photographed the Phoenix Mars Lander on the surface of the red planet, NASA scientists announced today. Mission controllers also said the mission seems to have hit its first snag as the radio on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), which communicates with Phoenix, has shut itself off due to an unknown problem. Despite this setback, Phoenix seems to be doing just fine. "Phoenix is...

2008-05-25 15:39:41

This story was updated at 5:46 p.m. EDT. PASADENA, Calif. – Excitement and nerves are both running high among NASA scientists as they prepare for the Phoenix Mars Lander's planned Sunday arrival at the red planet, mission scientists said today. The spacecraft is still in good shape and on track as it nears the finish line of its 422 million-mile (679 million km) trek to the Martian arctic. "Well this is exciting, a very exciting day," said Doug McCuistion, director...

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2008-05-25 19:05:00

NASA's Phoenix Lander settled onto the frozen plains surrounding the unexplored Martian north pole on Sunday, ending a 10-month journey from Earth with a harrowing descent, slowed by parachute and braking rockets. Signals confirming the three-legged spacecraft's arrival reached NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory at 6:53 p.m. CDT, unleashing a chorus of cheers and hugs from an anxious squad of flight controllers. The blue-and-gold lander is the cornerstone of a $457 million mission designed to...

2008-05-22 04:20:00

The Story The phoenix, a fabulous mythical bird the size of an eagle, symbolizes rebirth in many ancient cultures. According to the ancient Greeks, the bird lives in Arabia, nearby a cool well and sings a beautiful morning song. The phoenix lives 500 years or longer with only one phoenix existing at a time. When the bird's death approaches, it bursts into flames, and a new bird springs from the consumed pyre. Similar to its namesake, the Phoenix Mission "raises from the ashes" a spacecraft...

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2008-05-15 14:15:00

New observations from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter indicate that the crust and upper mantle of Mars are stiffer and colder than previously thought.The findings suggest any liquid water that might exist below the planet's surface, and any possible organisms living in that water, would be located deeper than scientists had suspected."We found that the rocky surface of Mars is not bending under the load of the north polar ice cap," said Roger Phillips of the Southwest Research Institute in...

2008-05-13 17:07:05

This story was updated at 1:33 p.m. EDT. WASHINGTON — With just 12 days to go until its Mars arrival, NASA's Phoenix lander is functioning well and on course to be the first mission to land in the frigid, arctic regions of the red planet, NASA officials said today. A planned maneuver to adjust Phoenix's course was canceled last Saturday because the spacecraft is on track for its May 25 landing, said Barry Goldstein, Phoenix project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion...

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2008-04-10 20:50:41

PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA engineers have adjusted the flight path of the Phoenix Mars Lander, setting the spacecraft on course for its May 25 landing on the Red Planet. "This is our first trajectory maneuver targeting a specific location in the northern polar region of Mars," said Brian Portock, chief of the Phoenix navigation team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. The mission's two prior trajectory maneuvers, made last August and October, adjusted the flight path of...

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2008-04-09 13:35:00

PASADENA, Calif. "“ A new stereo view of Phobos, the larger and inner of Mars' two tiny moons, has been captured by a NASA spacecraft orbiting Mars. The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter took two images of Phobos 10 minutes apart on March 23. Scientists combined the images for a stereo view. "Phobos is of great interest because it may be rich in water ice and carbon-rich materials," said Alfred McEwen, HiRISE principal...