OTD In Space – May 25: Phoenix Spacecraft Lands On Mars

  • 27 days ago
On May 25, 2008, NASA's Phoenix lander arrived on Mars.

Phoenix was NASA's sixth mission to successfully land on Mars, and it was the first mission to touch down near the planet's north pole. The objective for this mission was to look for evidence of water ice below the Martian surface. This would help scientists study the history of climate change on Mars. The mission would also look for clues about whether the Red Planet could have been habitable or even hosted some kind of alien life in the past. Phoenix spent almost 10 months flying to Mars before it plunged into the atmosphere going close to 13,000 miles per hour. Parachutes slowed it down to about 5 miles per hour, and Phoenix gently landed after a 7-minute descent. Three Mars orbiter missions adjusted their orbits so they could be in a good position to watch the landing. This was the first time that a spacecraft's landing on another planet was caught on camera.