Wondrous Mars

Phoenix landerA wondrous image, and provided so soon after the event itself, of the Phoenix lander parachuting down towards the surface of Mars – as taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. An animated depiction of how that image was taken is below the fold. As is a clip showing the vast plains of the northern polar region of Mars, as seen by NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander shortly after touching down on the Red Planet. How to take a picture of a spacecraft landing. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona.

The vast plains of the northern polar region of Mars, as seen by NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander shortly after touching down on the Red Planet. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/Texas A&M.


And an interesting point from an earlier RTÉ report

Unlike the rovers, Phoenix did not bounce to the planet’s surface in airbags, which are not suitable for larger spacecraft.

Instead, like the 1970s-era Viking probes and the failed Polar Lander mission, it used a jet pack to lower itself to the ground and fold-out legs to land on.

‘We haven’t landed successfully on legs and propulsive rockets in 32 years,’ [NASA’s space sciences chief] Mr Weiler said.

‘When we send humans there, women and men, they’re going to be landing on rockets and legs, so it’s important to show that we still know how to do this.’


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  • Billie-Joe Remarkable

    Slow news day, huh?

    Perhaps you should have a myspazz page for this sort of stuff and the Johnny Cash videos? Just a thought…

  • Marcu Fartlighteru

    Talking about Marszez does anyone remember buying a Marathon bar?

    They seemed so much more wholesome to me that Snickers!

    Snickers sounds like the nickname of a young lady who is popular in the sack.

    And they call Boost bars Moros in the Free State!


    Slow news day?

    You think landing on Mars and sending back hi res images constitutes a slow news day?

  • joeCanuck

    It blows my mind away that they could align the HiRISE to take that pic what with the delay of a few minutes to send a command among other things.
    Totally awesome.

  • joeCanuck

    As to a slow news day, this landing was the lead article on BBC World News yesterday.

  • Billie-Joe Remarkable

    Good grief! This is slugger and, according to the strap, this site is about politics and culture in Northern Ireland. I like astronomy a great deal but as with Johnny Cash videos, I’m not certain it falls within the remit of this site. (Unless they’ve discovered a good location for the new stadium up there.) Like I said, myspazz is your friend for the “I love this song” moments.

  • joeCanuck


    So you think that N.I. is immune from, or not interested in, what happens outside?
    Blog entries are what the bloggers want to bring to our attention. It isn’t compulsory to read every blog. One’s like this one of Pete’s, and others, are clear about whatever they are going to talk about.
    Don’t worry, be happy. (Dewi will probably find a video for us).

  • Dewi

    Always willing to oblige Joe

    Life on Mars My favourite Bowie song

  • joeCanuck

    Much thanks, Dewi. That was great; one of my favs too.
    So apt.


  • Pete Baker

    Here’s a link to another image of the descent taken by the HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

    And I thought the image in the original post was wondrous..

  • joeCanuck

    My god, Pete. Stupendous. Thanks for all the coverage.

  • Pete Baker

    I’m sure there’ll be more coverage to come, Joe.