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