Andrew Clem home
Andrew Clem banner

Blog post

Monthly archives
(all categories)

May 25, 2008 [LINK / comment]

The Phoenix has landed

... on Mars! The Phoenix spacecraft landed successfully on the Red Planet just before 8:00 PM EDT this evening, a major accomplishment for the U.S. space program. The landing site was in the northern polar region of Mars, far from where the Spirit and Opportunity Mars vehicular probes landed in April 2004. Unlike those two prior Mars probes, which used novel but unpredictable balloon cushions, the Phoenix used the more traditional (and expensive) retro-rockets to make a soft landing. After waiting for the dust to settle (literally), the first photographic image was taken and sent back to Earth. See it for yourself at

The main goal of the Phoenix mission is to determine whether water is present in significant quantities, and it is thought that water (or ice) is more likely to be found near the polar ice caps, which are composed mainly of dry ice -- carbon dioxide. The Phoenix's robotic arm will dig into the soil layer to gather samples for chemical analysis. President Bush has called for a renewed U.S. manned space exploration program, including an eventual trip to Mars, and the results of the Phoenix mission could have an impact on public support for such a huge undertaking. I'm generally in favor of a manned mission to Mars, as long as our long-term budget problems are adequately addressed.

Posted (or last updated or commented upon): 25 May 2008, 10: 59 PM

(unformatted URL)

This post is over a week old, so comments are closed.

© Andrew G. Clem. All rights reserved. Your use of this material signifies your acceptance of the Terms of use.

Hits on this page (single blog post) since July 2, 2007:

Category archives:
(all years)

This (or that) year's
blog highlights

Blog highlights have been compiled for the years 2010-2012 thus far, and eventually will be compiled for earlier years, back to 2002.


The "home made" blog organization system that I created was instituted on November 1, 2004, followed by several functional enhancements in subsequent years. I make no more than one blog post per day on any one category, so some posts may cover multiple news items or issues. Blog posts appear in the following (reverse alphabetical) order, which may differ from the chronological order in which the posts were originally made:

  1. Wild birds (LAST)
  2. War
  3. Science & Technology
  4. Politics
  5. Latin America
  6. Culture & Travel
  7. Canaries ("Home birds")
  8. Baseball (FIRST)