Friday, May 30, 2008

Phoenix landings

These are even more incredible images!
Click the image to see full size!
The amazing picture was captured on May 25th by the HiRISE camera onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Though the lander looks like it might be dropping straight into Heimdall, it is really descending about 20 kilometers in front of the crater, in the foreground of the scene. The orbiter was 760 kilometers away from Phoenix when picture was taken, at an altitude of 310 kilometers. Subsequently the orbiter's camera was also able to image the lander on the surface. The parachute attached to the backshell and the heat shield were identified in the image, scattered nearby. Of course, the Phoenix lander itself is now returning much closer views of its landing site as it prepares to dig into the Martian surface.
Why we have not seen these these pictures on the news is beyond me, we see bad news and Gordon Brown every day, but what about celebrating the achievements in technology?
In 1969 images like this made front page news and this was just the Moon!
This is Mars ... amazing!!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Phoenix has landed!

Two brilliant images here, the first is Phoenix with the chutes open taken from the Mars Orbiter and the second is the Phoenix on the ground.
Watched the Phoenix land live last night on NASA TV, absolutely amazing! The initial images from a polar region of Mars excellent!
Mind boggling to think that I sent my name to Mars as part of the mission along with Melissa's!

For the first time in human history, we have landed in a polar region on another planetary body. Congratulations to the Phoenix team — we are on Mars!
Now — armed with a suite of science instruments and a digging robotic arm — the spacecraft and its team on Earth can begin hunting for water ice and adventure.

My name — along with a quarter million others from around the world — is now on the surface of Mars. Landing with me on the DVD disk is Visions of Mars, a treasure trove of literature and art — from classic works by Arthur C. Clarke and Ray Bradbury to Orson Welles' radio retelling of "The War of the Worlds" to a special audio recording of Carl Sagan delivering a message to the future.