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Phoenix to land on Mars.
May 25, 2008 4:13 PM   Subscribe

Phoenix is set to land on Mars at 2353 UTC. Video coverage: NASA | CNN
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane (97 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
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Previously:
How to land at the Martian north pole. by Brandon Blatcher
The Phoenix rises. by backseatpilot
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 4:13 PM on May 25, 2008


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posted by popcassady at 4:14 PM on May 25, 2008


I've been watching for about the past half hour. I sure hope this one's successful.
posted by SpecialK at 4:15 PM on May 25, 2008


APOD had a cool animation of the landing featured today. The next half hour should be interesting.
posted by WolfDaddy at 4:24 PM on May 25, 2008


I liked the old thread!

It's so cool that we have spacecraft in permanent orbit around Mars to relay signals.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 4:27 PM on May 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


The twitter feed is the best thing going on twitter right now.
posted by Arturus at 4:33 PM on May 25, 2008


WolfDaddy: APOD had a cool animation of the landing featured today.

As I watched that just now, I turned on the radio because CNN Int'l was showing commercials. Alanis Morissette was on, with Thank You. You know the one:

The moment I let go of it
Was the moment I got more than I could handle
The moment I jumped off of it
Was the moment I touched down


And when that last line played, that was actually the moment it touched down, in the animation.

So I guess Phoenix officially has Alanis's blessing, now.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 4:35 PM on May 25, 2008


Fingers crossed. If this works, it'll be the first successful propulsion-based landing on mars in about 30 years.

I had friends working on this. They're a little tense right now.
posted by kyrademon at 4:35 PM on May 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


One of the things I'm curious about is why we need to land on rockets -- why not maintain the parachute all the way down as a backup system?
posted by SpecialK at 4:35 PM on May 25, 2008


Incidentally, if it touched down successfully, it did so right ... about ... now.

The news won't reach earth for another 15 minutes, though.
posted by kyrademon at 4:38 PM on May 25, 2008


SpecialK: 'cause the wind can catch the parachute, and also because the parachute can detach, and finally because a parachute (much like the airbags) limits the weight of the payload.
posted by furtive at 4:39 PM on May 25, 2008


The twitter feed is the best thing going on twitter right now.

Tell me about it: "Eating peanuts in mission control is a good luck tradition at JPL. Jars are being opened now! Wish I had some, too!"

gnifti: that must have been some kinda cool synchronicity.

Aaaaand separation complete! Yay!
posted by WolfDaddy at 4:40 PM on May 25, 2008


^the parachute can fail to detach

I should also add the parachute could cause problems coming down on the pheonix, which isn't supposed to move, am I right?
posted by furtive at 4:40 PM on May 25, 2008


TV-wise the coverage on the Science Channel (and HD) is good.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 4:44 PM on May 25, 2008


Report of atmospheric entry...now.
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 4:48 PM on May 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the link, I love these events!
posted by elpapacito at 4:48 PM on May 25, 2008


Touchdown!
posted by kyrademon at 4:54 PM on May 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


!!!!!
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 4:54 PM on May 25, 2008


YEEEAAH!
posted by elpapacito at 4:55 PM on May 25, 2008


They nailed it! Congratulations to all involved.

And DAMN those thrusters must have been powerful. The first couple thousand meters of landing just zoomed by, as soon as the thrusters kicked in, it's slowed WAYYYYYY down. Awesome.
posted by WolfDaddy at 4:55 PM on May 25, 2008


Wow, that was tense! I apologise for my preemptive cynicism -- let the invasion continue!
posted by popcassady at 4:55 PM on May 25, 2008


I can't remember who said it, but someone on Metafilter expressed their amazement at space exploration by saying something like, "These people dedicate their lives to building impossible things - and they actually work".

I'd like to echo that sentiment right now.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 4:55 PM on May 25, 2008 [3 favorites]


Phoenix has landed! Phoenix has landed! Thanks for the post and letting us share in the excitement!
posted by phyrewerx at 4:56 PM on May 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


That was a blast to watch.
posted by bowline at 4:57 PM on May 25, 2008


Woo! That was gripping stuff. Congratulations to all involved, can't wait to start seeing some of the science data come down.
posted by 5MeoCMP at 4:57 PM on May 25, 2008


LOL, NASA, pics or it didn't happen.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 4:57 PM on May 25, 2008


thanks gntfi, I would have missed the video coverage otherwise.

glad they didn't miss this time.
posted by Super Hans at 4:57 PM on May 25, 2008


Thanks for posting this - I caught it just at the right time! It's amazing to me that events like this are so accessible now, and I'm glad to have witnessed the landing!
posted by andeles at 4:58 PM on May 25, 2008


Nerdgasm!
posted by MikeKD at 4:59 PM on May 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


Yesss!
posted by Skorgu at 4:59 PM on May 25, 2008


Wow. I too caught it at just the right time. Thanks. This stuff is amazing.
posted by exlotuseater at 5:01 PM on May 25, 2008


I'm glad the mission control guys wore blue shirts. 'Cause if they wore red shirts...
posted by Tube at 5:01 PM on May 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yay! Go Phoenix!!!
posted by jasper411 at 5:01 PM on May 25, 2008


We did it!!! Well, not us personally, but someone did it. It was done.

It was done!!!
posted by Servo5678 at 5:02 PM on May 25, 2008 [5 favorites]


Watching the mission control reminded me of watching the dudes back on the aircraft carrier while Tom Cruise flew in Top Gun.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 5:02 PM on May 25, 2008


Phoenix is set to land on Mars at 2353 UTC.

Boo for making this FPP at 2313 UTC. If I checked MeFi every 45 minutes I might have made a note to catch this on NASA TV.
posted by crapmatic at 5:03 PM on May 25, 2008


Dammit I spent the last 10 minutes trying to get the plug-ins installed. Ahhhhhh
posted by geoff. at 5:03 PM on May 25, 2008


I can't remember who said it

Ah, it was Pastabagel, albeit in a slightly different context.

posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 5:09 PM on May 25, 2008


NASA must have offered themselves, and accepted, the extended warranty.
posted by stavrogin at 5:11 PM on May 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is so good, it's like when the rovers landed, waiting for the first pix!
posted by elpapacito at 5:11 PM on May 25, 2008


Which is 1 ,5 hours from now from what I have understood
posted by elpapacito at 5:11 PM on May 25, 2008


What's interesting is that the event must have actually happened a half hour (or much longer) ago, and they're actually just getting telemetry and data back now.

Also, metafilter is taking forever to load...
posted by delmoi at 5:12 PM on May 25, 2008


Oh come on, it's totally obvious they faked this landing. Those photos they haven't released yet are obviously photoshopped.</conspiracytheorypremption>
posted by schwa at 5:52 PM on May 25, 2008


What's annoying is I currently live in Florida, less than four hours from Cape Canaveral, and Cox cable here doesn't carry NASA TV.
posted by dirigibleman at 5:55 PM on May 25, 2008


Ok, that was cool. Can we send another one a dozen more now?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:05 PM on May 25, 2008


Why are we sending Phoenix? I was hoping for the entirety of Alabama.
posted by sonic meat machine at 6:13 PM on May 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


We have cameras.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:55 PM on May 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


It kinda looks like Kansas.
posted by steef at 6:57 PM on May 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


CNN coverage of the landing at JPL
posted by Poolio at 7:00 PM on May 25, 2008


Pictures! From Mars!
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 7:00 PM on May 25, 2008


Image from our advance scout, in preparation for invasion.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:14 PM on May 25, 2008


But who shall dwell in these worlds if they be inhabited?
Are we or they Lords of the World?
And how are all things made for man?
- Kepler (quoted in The Anatomy of Melancholy)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:16 PM on May 25, 2008


Picture gallery.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 7:17 PM on May 25, 2008


What the fuck is this weird metal thing on my roof? Damnit, it totally melted my ice garden!
posted by loquacious at 7:31 PM on May 25, 2008


GOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLLL!
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:46 PM on May 25, 2008


Maybe we should have sprung for a color camera.

couldn't resist
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:51 PM on May 25, 2008


Ultra, ultra awesome to see something from our planet casting a shadow on soil that my feet will never know.

Science is cool.
posted by lord_wolf at 7:54 PM on May 25, 2008


Watched the whole thing live on several we sites. Congrats to the JPL team. Good job!
posted by BillsR100 at 7:56 PM on May 25, 2008


Maybe we should have sprung for a color camera.

usually they have a bunch of color filters to look at different parts of the spectrum. They can combine those to produce true-color images.
posted by delmoi at 8:12 PM on May 25, 2008


Something about this picture just says "History" to me. I dont know why.
posted by Avenger at 8:16 PM on May 25, 2008


I guess now we've got 12 wheels plus 3 feet on Mars.

I've been following this mission closely since before launch last August, and it's nice to see the excitement in the general population.
posted by intermod at 8:27 PM on May 25, 2008


I watched the landing, then played some TF2 while waiting for the pics to come in. It was absolutely amazing that the whole thing went off without a hitch. To see brand new pictures from another planet always gives me the chills.

Good job, NASA guys and gals for getting it up there. Five years of work and everything going off without a single problem must feel just fantastic. Now let's see what the Arizona crew can find!!
posted by gemmy at 8:54 PM on May 25, 2008


Yo did anyone notice the nametag that said Fuk Li in the NASA hq footage? It's right at the back near where Colonel Sanders is standing.
Pretty unfortunate.
posted by Count at 9:07 PM on May 25, 2008


I just got done watching the final press conference for today. It sounds as though the landing was almost perfect. They "nulled out" the craft's horizontal velocity astonishingly well -- about 0.15 m/s at touchdown. Just a minute earlier the craft was traveling across Mars at highway speeds, and significant down-range velocity could have resulted in skidding, tipping, banging, or worse. Also, they were able to communicate with the craft during the landing, which wasn't strictly necessary but I'm sure made everybody in the command center a bit more relaxed than it would have been if they hadn't been getting updates. Initial data suggests the rockets and radar performed better than expected from simulations.

Sounds like they got lucky with the terrain. The lander is almost perfectly level and isn't sitting on any rocks. There's no discernible dust on the solar arrays, which is great news for longevity of the mission -- they're in good shape, electrical power-wise. They're right next to the "areological" features they're most interested in, which is good news because it means the lander didn't need wheels after all! They ended up a bit further downrange than they expected, but still within their estimates.

All those engineers and scientists did a great job, I'm so pleased for them. I hope they can get some sleep tonight.
posted by sdodd at 10:27 PM on May 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is a milestone of an interesting sort. Previously, of 37 launched missions to Mars, only 18 succeeded -- a success rate of 48.64%.

With Phoenix, humanity has now reached 19 successes of 38 missions total, for a rate of exactly 50%. Yay us! We've reached flip of a coin reliability!

For NASA alone, the rate has moved from 12 of 17 launched for 71% to 13 of 18, or 72.2%. For landers, though, the rate has moved from 5/6 (83%) to 6/7 (86%).

One of the things I'm curious about is why we need to land on rockets

Well, there is no one foolproof way to land on Mars. But NASA understands rockets pretty well, and they have pretty much a binary failure behavior -- either they work or they don't. Parachutes and airbags have a variety of other failure modes. They were mainly tried as cost-saving experiments during the "faster, better, cheaper" era following the Observer loss, when NASA tried to spam Mars with spacecraft instead of big all-in-one missions. Rockets are a bit more expensive but apparently loads more reliable.
posted by dhartung at 11:36 PM on May 25, 2008


Something about this picture just says "History" to me.

I remember the landings from 32 years ago, so this is more "back to the future" for me. Hopefully this time they won't get ambiguous readings on the biological tests. THAT newsflash back in 1976 forms one of my first distinct newsy memories.
posted by tachikaze at 11:54 PM on May 25, 2008


Sdodd -- No rest for the scientists tonight. Once it landed successfully, someone I know who is working on it started a shift that will not end until 8 AM tomorrow morning.
posted by kyrademon at 12:10 AM on May 26, 2008


Yo did anyone notice the nametag that said Fuk Li in the NASA hq footage? It's right at the back near where Colonel Sanders is standing. Pretty unfortunate.

Unfortunate because the average emotional age of people who are interested in the exploration of space is approximately 12? Is that what you're trying to tell us?

Yo, dawg, I didn't notice because I was too busy snickering when they talked about penetrating the atmosphere. Geddit? Penetration.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:21 AM on May 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


A poster on Slashdot put together this cross-eyed 3D pic of the leg piccys...
posted by bruzie at 12:48 AM on May 26, 2008


For those who want inside info, Unmanned Spaceflight is a BB run and updated by people in the space industry, thus being a great site for frequent updates and discussion about space related topics. Their forum on Phoenix can be found here.
posted by puzzler at 1:09 AM on May 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


congrats nasa. hope you get a nice big chunk of funding next budget, you earned it.
posted by Dillonlikescookies at 2:59 AM on May 26, 2008


So, pictures of little green men yet? C'mon, let's get on it people! Stat! Little green men dancing around in front of the camera's. I don't care if they look like paramcium, I got a hundred million tax dollars and ten months of waiting invested in this thing. At the very least, I want some Martian Pops!

Fuck interplanetary travel is slow. How they hell are we gonna take over the universe at this rate?
posted by From Bklyn at 3:14 AM on May 26, 2008


In this picture, there seems to be a metallic pointy object in the distance. Is that an artifact of the camera, or a piece of the lander?
posted by veedubya at 4:37 AM on May 26, 2008


The Mars Photojournal page has approximate-color images up.
posted by steef at 5:51 AM on May 26, 2008


Is that an artifact of the camera, or a piece of the lander?

Most likely, it's the heat shield (or so I have read).
posted by popcassady at 6:06 AM on May 26, 2008


This is awesome. At least our generation gets to feel a little like it might have felt to have been alive during the 60s.
posted by triv at 6:12 AM on May 26, 2008


Nifty 3d image.

I always get very excited over landing missions. They're just something intrinsically neat about landing evidence of man on another planet.
posted by Atreides at 7:29 AM on May 26, 2008


Huzzah!

When are they sending the first colonists? I hope it's within my lifetime.
posted by WalterMitty at 9:48 AM on May 26, 2008


This is awesome. At least our generation gets to feel a little like it might have felt to have been alive during the 60s.

Hopefully we'll all be around to watch footage of the first person setting foot on Mars. Bet it's a woman.
posted by stargell at 10:09 AM on May 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


In this picture, there seems to be a metallic pointy object in the distance. Is that an artifact of the camera, or a piece of the lander?

Everyone knows that Mars is where Jesus lives. Or, where Jesus used to live. It's the metallic Mars Robot Jesus clone that the Legacy Machines made in preparation for the Rapture 2.0 launch (Rapture 1.0's heat shield came apart at 25,000 ft over Madagascar in 1827.

WIKIPEDIA NEVER BELIEVES ME.
posted by jimmythefish at 11:04 AM on May 26, 2008


Wow!

There's something really cool about seeing one spacecraft from another, like the shots of the shuttle from the ISS, but to see a lander parachuting down to another freaking planet, well, that's just awesome.
posted by bondcliff at 11:10 AM on May 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


Whoa, bondcliff, that is very, very impressive.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 11:36 AM on May 26, 2008


The Mars Photojournal page has approximate-color images up.

NASA has also posted the "false color" images (..."inferred from two color filters, a violet, 450-nanometer filter and an infrared, 750-nanometer filter.") -- 1, 2.
posted by ericb at 12:13 PM on May 26, 2008


...late in the fifth decade, perennial underdog, Earth, evens the score with Mars at 20-all. Something of a junior in the Solar league, this historic occasion marks Earth's first head above water ever.

Is this just a lucky break or has Earth finally turned the corner on planetary spaceflight? I'm sure we'll all be watching on 4 February 2009 to find out...
posted by bonehead at 12:13 PM on May 26, 2008


Man, this is so good, even a day later I stopped reading the thread and went out and got snacks. The excitement of the early space program is absent to a large degree, but the importance of this event in the near-future is ridiculously enormous.

Right now I'm reading Stross' Accelerando, so I am right into looking at this event in that light: Meat traveling to dumb matter. Yet, regardless, this gets me all excited at some level that is closer to who I actually am then any knee-jerk reaction to another day-to-day story on the news about crisis, disaster, conflict, or product.

This is space for real and it's us off-planet!

Gosh! Is there anything better than this?
posted by humannaire at 1:05 PM on May 26, 2008


On an ancillary note, here, from a Mars Orbiter High Resolution Image Science Experiment shot taken on May 4, 2008, is a close up of the ice polygons characteristic of the landing site terrain.

Now, is that not the geekiest floor pattern of all time or what?
posted by y2karl at 8:37 AM on May 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


At Making Light there's a good thread about the photo bondcliff linked.
posted by cgc373 at 10:03 AM on May 28, 2008


Mars lander discovers ice, scientists say
posted by homunculus at 6:05 PM on May 31, 2008


Er, just to be clear, that should have read:
Now, is that not the geekiest floor tile pattern of all time or what ?
posted by y2karl at 3:26 PM on June 2, 2008


In other news: Scientists Find Rare, Ultra-Magnetic Star
posted by homunculus at 5:35 PM on June 2, 2008


A different Utramagnetic Star, but one also "livin' astro".
posted by humannaire at 11:53 AM on June 3, 2008


When the lander collected and released its first scoopful of soil on Sunday, some of the sample stuck to the scoop. The team told Phoenix this morning to lift another surface sample and release it, with more extensive imaging of the steps in the process.

[...]

"Before we begin delivering samples to the instruments on the deck, we want a good understanding of how the soil behaves."


I wonder if they also record the vibrations in the arm that does the scooping. If they do, that would mean that the vibrations could also be 'replayed' on a metal bar, maybe even one that follows the arm's exact movements.

You could place your hand on it and feel what it's like to scoop Martian soil.
posted by Anything at 2:15 PM on June 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Holy shit, look at this: Sunset on Mars
posted by EarBucket at 7:07 AM on June 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


Ah, man. They either missed the test oven with the first dirt sample, or the dirt's too clumpy to pass through the screen.
posted by steef at 7:37 AM on June 8, 2008


The switched to 'sprinkle' instead of 'dump' and got a sample in the oven.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 7:24 AM on June 11, 2008


Mars Phoenix "Shovel" Hits Hard White Layer Just Below Surface
posted by homunculus at 1:17 PM on June 17, 2008


This is a neat story: the Martian peanut probe.
posted by steef at 1:46 PM on June 19, 2008


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