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Saturday, December 9, 2017

Mars Phoenix Lander

    Image Credit : National Aeronautics Space Administration


     Mars Phoenix Lander was a lander intended to land on Mars, it was designed under the Mars Scout Program. It was successfully launched and landed on the surface of Mars on 25th May 2008. But after the landing it lost its communication form the earth ground station. It was aimed to search for the microbial life on the Mars.

Design and Head:

     The Phoenix lander mission was headed by the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona.It was a partnership program between Canadian Space Agency, Finnish Meteorological Institute, Lockheed Martin Space Systems, MacDonald Dettwiler & Associates and other companies. The lander was designed by the engineers of Jet Propulsion Laboratory,

Mission Launch:

     Phoenix was launched on 4th August 2007 at 05:26:34 AM EDT from Cape Canaveral Airforce station in Florida. The Lander was carried by Delta 7925 Rocket. After its successful launch it was placed in trajectory path on 10th August 2007. The carrier rocket Delta-7925 vehicle was also used in the past for launch of Twin Rovers in 2003 ( Spirit and Opportunity), Mars Pathfinder in 1996.

Technical Details:

  • The Mass of the lander was 350 kg
  • Communication were made through X-band by using Ultra-high Frequency Antenna.
  • Mars Odyssey, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Mars Express acted as relay between the phoenix lander and earth based ground observatories.
  • The power was generated by Gallium arseide solar array
  • Power back-up was provided by Lithium Ion Battery
  • For commanding the landers, RAD6000 software was used 
  • The cruise phase was supported by monopropellant hydrazine engines of 22N.
Landing on Mars:

      After few months, the Mars Phoenix Lander entered the Martian atmosphere at nearly 21.000 km per hour. Phoenix landed in the Green Valley of Vastitas Borealis on 25th May 2008. After successful landing, it transmitted information for three months and lost the contact from earth stations.

Scientific Payloads:
  1. Robotic arm and Camera
  2. Surface Stereo Imager
  3. Thermal and evolved gas analyser
  4. Mars Descent Imager
  5. Microscopy, Electrochemistry and conductivity analyser
  6. Sample wheel transition stage
  7. Optical Microscope
  8. Atomic Force Microscope
  9. Wet Chemistry Lab
  10. Thermal and Electrical Conductivity Probe
  11. Meteorological Station
Mission Outcomes:
  • 19 June 2008, It finds the presence of water ice
  • 31 July 2008, Phoenix confirmed the presence of water on Martian Surface
  • 24 June 2008, It found Magnesium,sodium, potassium and chloride in the soil
  • Some of the dust devils were observed.
  • The temperature were around -65 degree celsius
  • Found Calcium Carbonate in the martian soil
Phoenix Overview:

Spacecraft's Name     Phoenix Lander
Operator                      National Aeronautics Space Administration
Mission Type               Lander
Launch Date                4th August 2007
Launch Site                 Cape Canaveral AFS
Launch Vehicle           Delta-II-7925 Rocket
Duration of Mission    90 Martian Solar Days

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