Phoenix Mars Lander Launches for the Red Planet

NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander blasted off early Saturday morning, beginning its mission to search for evidence of water, and maybe even life, on the Red Planet. If all goes well, the spacecraft will arrive at Mars on May 25, 2008, touching down in the planet’s polar region – roughly the same latitude as Northern Alaska here on Earth.

The Boeing Delta II rocket carrying the spacecraft lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Base at 5:26 am EDT on Saturday, August 4th, 2007, roaring into the sky above the Florida’s Atlantic coast. 90 minutes later, the spacecraft detached from the 3rd stage of the rocket, right on target to take it to Mars. Ground controllers confirmed that they were able to communicate with the spacecraft at 7:02 am EDT.

Barry Goldstein, Phoenix project manager was very happy with the launch so far, “Our trajectory is still being evaluated in detail; however we are well within expected limits for a successful journey to the red planet. We are all thrilled!”

Next comes the testing, and the waiting. Over the next 9 months, the spacecraft will cross the 679 million kilometer (421 million mile) distance between Earth and Mars, entering the Red Planet’s atmosphere on May 25, 2008.

I’ve written a few articles about Phoenix, so I’ll just link you to one for more details on the mission. Here’s a story I did just a few days ago.

Original Source: NASA/JPL News Release