Phoenix Mars Lander Prepares to Unfold Arm

The Phoenix Mars Lander has already had its difficulties. Problems began when the parachute deployed seven seconds late, and put the Lander down 19 miles from its planned landing site. This has not been a major problem, since 19 miles on the Northern Plains of Mars doesn’t change the overall terrain very much.

The mission is dependent on the proper functioning of the seven foot robotic arm with attached shovel. The arm is designed to gather the soil samples.

Current pictures from the Lander show the robotic arm is still partly wrapped in its protective sheathing. We will have to see if the arm will function properly while hindered by this covering, which was supposed to disengage during landing.

Photos were coming in regularly, until the Phoenix suddenly shut down and went silent. NASA had a backup system in place that was able to get the Phoenix Lander communicating again last night.

Problems have appeared throughout this flight, but contingency plans appear to be keeping the mission on track. It is a day by day process, and I find it fascinating to watch.

For more details on the Phoenix Lander, check out the Scientific American website for the latest news and pictures.

Phoenix Mars Lander Phones Home, Prepares to Unfold Arm: Scientific American

And if you would like to see all the posts on the Phoenix Lander that have been posted on Uduzit, look in the right column under Pages, or follow this link:Phoenix Mars Lander Posts

Smiles. ET


Published in: on May 29, 2008 at 6:07 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Blog Stats in Perspective

It is Monday, another Monday. I like Mondays, even with the Evangelicals waking me with their music each week. They were subdued today.

The past couple of days have been slow motion. The Internet has gone geriatric, or maybe it is just me. Things seem very calm.

When my blog goes quiet, it is not normal. My visitors arrive on a very steady basis, then suddenly disappear for a whole day. I don’t know the reason for this, but I have better understanding of my blog stats because of it.
I am very fascinated to see that WordPress, Site Counter, and Stat Counter synchronize perfectly. There is just one difference. The time setting on WordPress is six hours off from my other stats programs due to GMT.
That small difference causes big changes in my numbers. What I perceive as a slow day on WordPress, appears quite normal in the other programs. It takes a day or two, but the numbers seem to all average out.

WordPress stats confuse me when I watch them too closely. I think the six hour difference in time is a part of that. I get concerned when things appear too quiet, yet see over time that everything levels out.

A smile comes from knowing my concern is caused by my own perceptions. Give anything a little time, and it looks differently. Concerns of the moment, look much smaller when seen in the Past.

My stats may bounce around, but they are giving me good information. In them I see that the moment is open to any interpretation I wish, but retrospect does give me better vision.
Smiles. ET

Published in: on May 26, 2008 at 6:38 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Phoenix has landed

Thought I would let all of you know, including those who might be holding their breath and not have checked the news, the Phoenix Mars Lander has landed safely. It arrived on the Northern Plains of Mars shortly before 8:00 PM (EDT)

There were concerns about the landing. The last couple of couple of Martian Probes ended up going in to the surface of Mars. rather than landing on the surface.

Ten years work, and they got the math right this time. The Phoenix Lander sits at a twenty-five degree angle. Shortly, the solar panels will deploy and pictures will begin arriving.

So, the Phoenix Lander did not hit a boulder, slide down a slope, or fall in to a big hole. At least not yet. Stay tuned and we’ll take a peak at some up close pictures of Mars when they arrive. Good night for the folks at NASA.

Smiles. ET

Published in: on May 26, 2008 at 3:40 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Phoenix lands on Mars tonight

There must be a reason, but I have no idea what it is. It has been a very slow day on the Internet. I haven’t been able to get a good connection this morning.

This has happened before, and then things take off again. The question is, why does this happen? I am getting the feeling that it is something that is beyond my control. Things do constantly change, but darn when they don’t go the way I wish.

My concerns today are small potatoes compared to the boys at NASA are experiencing. Ten months ago they sent the Phoenix Lander off to Mars. Yep, ten months out in space and it is due to land on Mars tonight.

The landing sequence begins at 7:30 PM (EDT). The Phoenix Lander has travelled 423 million miles. It is expected the Phoenix Lander will plant its three metal feet on the North Pole of Mars with the help of thrusters and parachutes at 7:53 PM tonight.

So much accomplished, but NASA is most concerned about the last seven seconds of the flight. They will have to wait fifteen minutes for the camera pictures to reach the Earth to know whether The Phoenix Lander has landed right side up!

That could be a long wait. I happen to know NASA has not had success trying this in the past. Only five of the last eleven Mars probes have succeeded.

It is a grand journey, but watching first attempts are sometimes frustrating. I hope everyone at NASA has a wonderful evening watching great pictures from Mars. They are due for a good evening.

I have already watched the animated version on uTube and it went just fine. That video is posted on the main page of Uduzit, and if you are wondering about the shovel, it is for soil samples. Soil having water equals the potential for life on Mars.

Hope the locals have a sense of humor, should we happen to dig up someone’s microb garden while there.

Smiles. ET

Published in: on May 25, 2008 at 7:37 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Flight of the Phoenix Mars Lander

Published in: on May 25, 2008 at 7:14 pm  Leave a Comment