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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