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Thread: Phoenix to drop onto North Pole in 2007

  1. #1 Phoenix to drop onto North Pole in 2007 
    Forum Sophomore cleft's Avatar
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    Phoenix to drop onto North Pole in 2007



    A robot explorer named Phoenix will be launched by NASA in 2007 to land and scout the high northern latitudes of Mars in 2008.

    The lander would touch down on terrain suspected of covering a vast reservoir of water ice just a foot beneath the surface.

    Icy abundance. The Mars Odyssey spacecraft now orbiting above the Red Planet has spotted evidence of the large ice reservoir. Phoenix would follow up by landing on the surface and carrying out the first ever sub-surface analysis of ice-bearing materials on another planet.

    --cut--

    Cutting costs. With the cost of a Scout mission limited to $325 million, NASA chose the least expensive of four projects competing for the 2007 launch. Phoenix, which resurrects much of the technology of the ill-fated Mars Polar Lander [info ยป], is expected to cost $284 million.

    The other three concepts were a Mars airplane, a sample return mission to bring Martian atmospheric dust to Earth, and a Mars orbiter. Each of those would have cost about $325 million.

    The Mars Scout Program is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, for NASA's Office of Space Science at Washington, D.C. Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver, Colorado, also is involved in the 2007 spacecraft project.

    Source and complete article here


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    Forum Sophomore DEChengst's Avatar
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    I just love Mars spacecraft. Good to see NASA is trying a polar mission again. With the low temperatures at high latitudes digging in the ground may prove quite interesting. The ice may very well have conserved organics. Organics that Phoenix will be looking for After Phoenix NASA plans to launch MSL in 2009. MSL will be a huge rover with a design life time of two years. Compared to MSL the current MER mission is almost a toy. MSL may get postponed to 2011 however. If this will happen I hope they'll launch the methane mapping orbiter, that got rejected in favour of Phoenix, during the 2009 launch window. This would be a great thing to do. Both MEX and Earth based observations have shown methane in the Mars atmosphere. This could be produced by volcanoes or even life. Both would be a very interesting find.


    PDP, VAX and Alpha fanatic ; HP-Compaq is the Satan! ; Let us pray daily while facing Maynard! ; Life starts at 150 km/h ;
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