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Destination Mars




Mission: Phoenix lander
Landing: May 25, 2008
Entry: 7:46 p.m. EDT
Touchdown: 7:53 p.m. EDT (2353 GMT)
Site: Vasitas Borealis

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Targeting the water

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Video archive

Phoenix landing preview

Less than two weeks before the Phoenix spacecraft arrives at Mars, this previews the landing and the planned science on the planet's surface.

 Presentation | Q&A

STS-82: In review

The second servicing of the Hubble Space Telescope was accomplished in Feb. 1997 when the shuttle astronauts replaced a pair of instruments and other internal equipment on the observatory.

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STS-81: In review

The fifth shuttle docking mission to the space station Mir launched astronaut Jerry Linenger to begin his long-duration stay on the complex and brought John Blaha back to Earth.

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Discovery rolls out

Discovery travels from the Vehicle Assembly Building to pad 39A in preparation for the STS-124 mission.

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STS-124: The programs

In advance of shuttle Discovery's STS-124 mission to the station, managers from both programs discuss the flight.

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STS-124: The mission

A detailed preview of Discovery's mission to deliver Japan's science laboratory Kibo to the station is provided in this briefing.

 Part 1 | Part 2

STS-124: Spacewalks

Three spacewalks are planned during Discovery's STS-124 assembly mission to the station.

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STS-124: The Crew

The Discovery astronauts, led by commander Mark Kelly, meet the press in the traditional pre-flight news conference.

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Discovery to VAB

For its STS-124 mission, shuttle Discovery was transferred from its hangar to the Vehicle Assembly Building for attachment to a fuel tank and twin solid rocket boosters.

 Transfer | Hoist

Complex 40 toppling

The Complex 40 mobile service tower at Cape Canaveral's former Titan rocket launch pad was toppled using explosives on April 27.

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Bright chunks dug up by Phoenix must have been ice
UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA NEWS RELEASE
Posted: June 19, 2008

Dice-size crumbs of bright material have vanished from inside a trench where they were photographed by NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander four days ago, convincing scientists that the material was frozen water that vaporized after digging exposed it.


These images were acquired by NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander's Surface Stereo Imager on the 21st and 25th days of the mission, or Sols 20 and 24 (June 15 and 18, 2008). They show sublimation of ice in the trench informally called "Dodo-Goldilocks" over the course of four days. In the lower left corner, lumps disappear, similar to the process of evaporation. Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/Texas A&M University
 
"It must be ice," said Phoenix Principal Investigator Peter Smith of the University of Arizona, Tucson. "These little clumps completely disappearing over the course of a few days, that is perfect evidence that it's ice. There had been some question whether the bright material was salt. Salt can't do that."

The chunks were left at the bottom of a trench informally called "Dodo-Goldilocks" when Phoenix's Robotic Arm enlarged that trench on June 15, during the 20th Martian day, or sol, since landing. Several were gone when Phoenix looked at the trench early today, on Sol 24.

Also early today, digging in a different trench, the Robotic Arm connected with a hard surface that has scientists excited about the prospect of next uncovering an icy layer.

The Phoenix science team spent Thursday analyzing new images and data successfully returned from the lander earlier in the day.

Studying the initial findings from the new "Snow White 2" trench, located to the right of "Snow White 1," Ray Arvidson of Washington University in St. Louis, co-investigator for the robotic arm, said, "We have dug a trench and uncovered a hard layer at the same depth as the ice layer in our other trench."

On Sol 24, Phoenix extended the first trench in the middle of a polygon at the "Wonderland" site. While digging, the Robotic Arm came upon a firm layer, and after three attempts to dig further, the arm went into a holding position. Such an action is expected when the Robotic Arm comes upon a hard surface.

Meanwhile, the spacecraft team at Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver is preparing a software patch to send to Phoenix in a few days so scientific data can again be saved onboard overnight when needed. Because of a large amount a duplicative file-maintenance data generated by the spacecraft Tuesday, the team is taking the precaution of not storing science data in Phoenix's flash memory, and instead downlinking it at the end of every day, until the conditions that produced those duplicative data files are corrected.

"We now understand what happened, and we can fix it with a software patch," said Phoenix Project Manager Barry Goldstein of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena. "Our three-month schedule has 30 days of margin for contingencies like this, and we have used only one contingency day out of 24 sols. The mission is well ahead of schedule. We are making excellent progress toward full mission success."

The Phoenix mission is led by Smith of the University of Arizona with project management at JPL and development partnership at Lockheed Martin, located in Denver. International contributions come from the Canadian Space Agency; the University of Neuchatel, Switzerland; the universities of Copenhagen and Aarhus, Denmark; Max Planck Institute, Germany; and the Finnish Meteorological Institute.

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Additional coverage for subscribers:
VIDEO: FRIDAY'S BRIEFING REVEALS POSSIBLE ICE PLAY
VIDEO: THURSDAY'S ROBOT ARM AND PICTURE BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: WEDNESDAY'S PICTURE AND UPDATE BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: TUESDAY'S PICTURE AND UPDATE BRIEFING PRESENTATION | Q&A
VIDEO: MONDAY AFTERNOON'S UPDATE PRESENTATION | Q&A
VIDEO: HOW MARS ORBITER GOT THE PARACHUTE PHOTO PLAY

VIDEO: PHOENIX LANDS ON MARS! PLAY
VIDEO: MIDNIGHT POST-LANDING BRIEFING PRESENTATION | Q&A
VIDEO: POST-LANDING INTERVIEW WITH MARS PROGRAM DIR. PLAY
VIDEO: POST-LANDING INTERVIEW WITH PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR PLAY
VIDEO: POST-LANDING INTERVIEW WITH PROJECT MANAGER PLAY

VIDEO: SUNDAY'S PRE-LANDING STATUS PRESENTATION | Q&A
VIDEO: SATURDAY STATUS BRIEFING PRESENTATION | Q&A
VIDEO: ENTRY, DESCENT AND LANDING EXPLAINED PLAY
VIDEO: ANIMATION OF PHOENIX MISSION WITH NARRATION PLAY
VIDEO: HIGHLIGHTS FROM MARS ROVER SPIRIT'S LANDING PLAY
VIDEO: HIGHLIGHTS FROM MARS ROVER OPPORTUNITY'S LANDING PLAY
VIDEO: THURSDAY STATUS BRIEFING PRESENTATION | Q&A
VIDEO: LANDING PREVIEW BRIEFING PRESENTATION | Q&A

VIDEO: PHOENIX LAUNCHES! PLAY
VIDEO: POST-FLIGHT COMMENTS FROM LAUNCH MANAGER PLAY
VIDEO: WIDE-SCREEN FROM PATRICK AFB CAMERA PLAY
VIDEO: TRACKER FOLLOWS ROCKET TO MECO PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH AS SEEN FROM THE PRESS SITE PLAY
VIDEO: PAD'S MOBILE GANTRY ROLLED BACK FOR LAUNCH PLAY
VIDEO: NARRATED HIGHLIGHTS OF PHOENIX CAMPAIGN PLAY
VIDEO: NARRATED HIGHLIGHTS OF ROCKET CAMPAIGN PLAY
VIDEO: THE PRE-LAUNCH NEWS CONFERENCE PLAY
VIDEO: OVERVIEW OF PHOENIX MISSION TO MARS PLAY
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