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Phoenix craft to dig under Mars ice (landing planned 25 May)

  1. May 23, 2008 #1

    marcus

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    http://news-info.wustl.edu/tips/page/normal/11767.html

    25 May it will parachute down and at the last moment let go the chute and use retrorockets

    it will not land on the polar icecap itself but on a level plain where they think there is ice a foot or so down below surface

    it has a digging tool so it can dig down and take samples from the presumed ice layer and also sample the SOIL immediately beneath the ice---which is of special interest because of its exposure to water.

    onboard chemical analysis
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 25, 2008 #2
    Last edited: May 25, 2008
  4. May 25, 2008 #3

    marcus

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    B. Elliott, thank for the links!

    There is a beautiful animation of the landing and deployment as it is supposed to go
    http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap080525m.html

    It is a real treat to watch. The initial fiery descent, with the heat shield. The paracute sequence. And the animation puts it all against a backdrop of Mars landscape and clouds. Then it shows disconnecting from the parachute and free-fall followed by firing the retro-rockets and the actual landing. Then the beautiful way the various things unfold.

    Here's hoping all goes as planned. I guess we will know in a few hours. Supposed to start around 7:30 PM Eastern.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2008
  5. May 25, 2008 #4
    You're welcome marcus. Thank you for posting the complete entry animation. I've seen snippets, but not the complete film till now.

    Here's two informative Youtube videos that I posted in the GD section...

    I really liked the production with this one...




    I'm anxious to see how this mission unfolds considering this is the first thruster landing in quite some time, and this being the first time we're actually digging to a considerable depth. I do wish that we were digging on an order of meters rather than just inches, though. Can't wait till we do!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  6. May 25, 2008 #5
    T-9 minutes!
     
  7. May 25, 2008 #6
    Yay successful landing! How exciting. :)
     
  8. May 25, 2008 #7

    marcus

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  9. May 25, 2008 #8
    This is excellent news. I can't wait to learn about what it uncovers.
     
  10. May 25, 2008 #9

    marcus

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    Me too. :biggrin:

    Another piece of good news
    http://phoenix.lpl.arizona.edu/05_25_endofday.php

    the Phoenix made a second transmission a couple of hours after the first short report of touchdown. The second transmission sent a PICTURE and it confirmed that the solar panels had unfolded and deployed properly.

    So now it no longer has to rely on chemical battery power. It hasn't tried out its 7 foot long digging arm yet, but it looks like otherwise it is in business and can start work.

    here's an earlier press release made after touchdown
    http://phoenix.lpl.arizona.edu/05_25_landed_pr.php

    these seem like good press releases, so we should keep watching the site to get more
    here is one link
    http://fawkes3.lpl.arizona.edu/news.php
    and that offers a number of resources including this NEWS ARCHIVE with current and past press releases:
    http://fawkes3.lpl.arizona.edu/newsArchive.php

    there is also a picture gallery including a dozen or so pictures taken by Phoenix

    these are links that all branch out from the one B. Elliott gave earlier---I am gradually learning to navigate the Phoenix site and find what I want.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2008
  11. May 26, 2008 #10

    baywax

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    Yeah!!! We've got the laser that's checking climate on the Phoenix. Built in Canada what what... pity!.

    Congrats you beautiful Americans!!!! Thanks for the 400 million mile ride!! (typical Canucks always hitchin' a ride.)
     
  12. May 26, 2008 #11
    Thanks for the links Marcus. It's amazing how there was little to no dust on the solar arrays after they deployed! Now that the Phoenix can harness the sun's energy as best as possible let's just see how it holds up during the Martian nights. =)
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2008
  13. May 26, 2008 #12

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  14. May 26, 2008 #13

    baywax

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  15. May 29, 2008 #14

    marcus

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    Just to keep this updated. Yesterday 28 May they sent it the command to move its arm.

    So we are waiting for confirmation that it can successfully unfold and extend its arm for digging. If anybody has some news on that, please post it!
    http://phoenix.lpl.arizona.edu/05_28_pr.php
    NASA's Phoenix Spacecraft Commanded to Unstow Arm
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2008
  16. May 29, 2008 #15

    baywax

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    http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/space/2008-05-26-phoenix-prep_N.htm
     
  17. May 29, 2008 #16

    marcus

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    http://phoenix.lpl.arizona.edu/05_29_pr.php
    NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander Puts Arm and Other Tools to Work

    so the arm is now unstowed and functional

    Part of the 29 May report is about the LIDAR:

    "Another milestone for the mission included the activation of the laser instrument called light detection and ranging instrument, or lidar.

    "The Canadians are walking on moonbeams. It's a huge achievement for us," said Jim Whiteway Canadian Science lead from York University, Toronto. The lidar is a critical component of Phoenix's weather station, provided by the Canadian Space Agency. The instrument is designed to detect dust, clouds and fog by emitting rapid pulses of green laser-like light into the atmosphere. The light bounces off particles and is reflected back to a telescope.

    "One of the main challenges we faced was to deliver the lidar from the test lab in Ottawa, Canada, to Mars while maintaining its alignment within one one-hundredth of a degree," said Whiteway. "That's like aiming a laser pointer at a baseball at a distance from home plate to the center field wall, holding that aim steady after launch for a year in space, then landing," he added.

    Lidar data shows dust aloft to a height of 3.5 kilometers (2 miles). The weather at the Phoenix landing site on the second day following landing was sunny with moderate dust, with a high of minus 30 degrees Celsius (minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit) and a low of minus 80 (minus 112 degrees Fahrenheit)."
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2008
  18. May 29, 2008 #17

    baywax

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    Yep! Walking on Moombeams! Pretty cool! :tongue2:

    Last time I saw "Lidar" spelt out, it was "Ledar".
     
  19. May 29, 2008 #18

    marcus

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    I don't know which is the preferred spelling, amongst the techies.
    I've also seen it spelled Ladar (for laser detection and ranging)

    Wikipedia says Lidar (for light detection and ranging)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LIDAR

    Apparently the work was done at York U. Toronto, or at least the director is based there. Do you have any extra background detail that might be of interest? I gather there is a Canada Space Agency laboratory at Ottawa, where the device was checked out before they shipped it.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2008
  20. May 29, 2008 #19
    I've heard the folks at JPL pronounce it 'Lidar' a few times. I also think I remember seeing it spelled that way on the Phoenix site.
     
  21. May 30, 2008 #20

    baywax

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    I've seen it that way too. Ledar may be derived from the Quebequoi "Le dar" (... just kidding).
     
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