Archive for the ‘Phoenix’ Tag

I thought Phoenix landed somewhere flat?

Phoenix’s destination was “the northern plains”.  JPL’s David Spencer further reinforced this notion of “flat” in my head when he said

we have identified an area [for landing] that is very flat and relatively free of large boulders

Soon after Phoenix’s landing, news was published that NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s HiRISE had captured a picture of Phoenix and its lander during descent.  Pretty cool, I thought – the chute, the cords, and the lander were clearly visible in that picture.  Still, nothing in that news article made me question the “flat” assumption.

But this morning, when I was browsing the Phoenix page on Wikipedia, I realized that the full chute picture showed that the landing region was anything but boring:

Phoenix didn’t land in “Heimdall” crater – it landed 20km away.  But since this crater is 10km wide, I think NASA would’ve been justified in hyping the context of the parachute shot.

scientists confident – we touched ice on Mars

If true, this is big, big, big, and exactly what we hoped for.  It would confirm we wouldn’t need to carry all our own water to Mars when we finally start moving humans there.  Living off of some in situ resources is an important first step towards total off-Earth self-reliance.

This would be an obvious aid in actually learning how to solve environmental problems back on Earth, when solving environmental problems eventually becomes a true objective.  Today, the Big E-N-V is nothing more than political football played by pseudo-scientists and pseudo-economists (check that – in most cases, by non-scientists and anti-capitalists with thinly disguised agendas).

Phoenix to touch water on Mars

It will land on May 25, 2008 at 6:53 pm CDT in a far northern plain on Mars informally known as Green Valley within Vastitas Borealis.  And if touching water on another planet doesn’t get you fired up, maybe this simulated landing movie will.

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