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Landed on Mars (again)

Since I was a kid, I had a fascination with the stars, and space and so on.  I had a huuuge collection of space Lego, and was 5 years of age when the Star Wars phenomenon landed, followed by video games like Space Invaders, Asteroids and Defender.

These days, there is often an audible ho-hum from around the room, when there is another Space Shuttle launch, and/or orbit and land safely.

But – it’s not everyday that there’s a landing on MARS !  

The NASA Phoenix spacecraft landed safely today, although this wasn’t known until 15 minutes after the fact, due to the time taken for radio signals to reach Earth – it’s only 422 million miles !!     (was actually launched last August !)

A NASA spacecraft today sent pictures showing itself in good condition after making the first successful landing in a polar region of Mars.

The images from NASA’s Mars Phoenix Lander also provided a glimpse of the flat valley floor expected to have water-rich permafrost within reach of the lander’s robotic arm.

The landing ends a 422-million-mile journey from Earth and begins a three-month mission that will use instruments to taste and sniff the northern polar site’s soil and ice.

NASA’s Phoenix Spacecraft Reports Good Health After Mars Landing

I can vividly remember the first mass-photo viewing of Mars, following the Mars PathFinder landing, in 1997.  Was great to be able to browse through photos on the interweb, rather than simply in a magazine, or library.

Hopefully, there will be a Virtual Earth, or Google Earth equivalent one day – maybe not for a while yet, but that would be damn cool !

Phoenix is the sixth successful Mars lander and the first since Viking 1 & 2 in 1976 to use powered descent.

Important to note that the rocket-booster descent and “legs” landing hasn’t been achieved for 32 years, with the previous landings using airbags and parachutes.  

Especially if there is ever to be a manned mission to land on Mars, they can’t simply bounce to a touch-down.

Phoenix landing.jpg

Read more here :

Will definitely be having more of a look as photos come streaming back from Mars.

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