Life Of Navin

Random Musings, Random Bullshit.


'Phoenix' Has Landed!!

"Phoenix has landed - welcome to the northern plain of Mars" a flight controller at NASA's Jet Propulsion Labarotory announced at around 5:23 IST.The reaction from engineers and scientists at JPL was almost as wild as ManU's celebrations when they won the Champions League-They clapped and cheered and hugged and danced..... because they all knew that the final seven minutes of the probe's 10-month journey to Mars were regarded as the riskiest part of the mission.The probe had survived a fiery plunge through the planet's thin atmosphere, slowing from a speed of nearly 21,000km/h (13,000 mph) before it released its parachute, used pulsed thrusters to slow to a fast walking speed, and then descended the last few metres to the Martian soil to land on its three "legs".

Its really amazing when you see history being made in space exploration, which might perhaps put an end to that eternal question... "Are We Alone?". I wouldn't have missed this for the world. Unfortunately our Indian channels were highly ignorant of the entire event....So BBC and CNN had another viewer ...This one from India, among the millions following this event on TV.

A signal confirming the lander had reached the surface was received at 0523 IST on the morning of 26 May.

Phoenix has been sending back photos from the planet's north pole that show signs of there being ice under the surface.

The first images showed the "Arctic plain" where Phoenix came to rest - a region of Mars that has never been seen up close before.

Other shots confirmed that the probe's solar arrays had unfurled successfully, and that it had landed safely on its legs.

As we all know.... Or should know... The probe is equipped with a robotic arm, which is designed to dig below the frozen surface for samples of ice and water.

The Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex is one of three tracking stations providing communication links to spacecraft for NASA.

"To a lot of people it may look like a typical red rocky strewn terrain that we've seen previously in Mars but you look at them for a while and you realise no, this is different, this is not a place where maybe there's been a flood, this is a place where there have been ice glaciers and ice caps covering this region," CDSCC's outreach manager, Glen Nagle said.

Over the next few months Phoenix will conduct various experiments on the martian top-soil before the martian "winter" sets in, when it will be engulfed in the permafrost, thus ending its mission. Sad end, even for a probe!!

There is no telling what discoveries we'll be seeing over the next 90 days -- Dr Charles Elachi, Director of JPL



Finally after all these years, here's to the beginning of what was there, what is there and hopefully what will remain!! So here are my thoughts & words -Online!!

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