May 25, 2008, Froudgar Phoenix NASA reached Mars. It was the sixth NASA mission to successfully land on Mars and the first mission to land near the planet’s north pole.
The purpose of this mission was to search for evidence of water ice below the surface of Mars. This discovery will help scientists study the history of climate change on Mars. The mission will also look for clues as to whether the Red Planet was habitable in the past or even hosts some form of alien life.
The tools and instruments in Phoenix were built based on this strategy and were the first exploration tools to study geological and biological features in the polar region of Mars.
The Phoenix spent almost ten months flying to Mars before it plunged through the atmosphere at thirteen thousand miles per hour. The parachutes slowed it down to about five miles per hour, and the spacecraft landed gently after seven minutes.
Achievements and the end of the mission
The Phoenix spacecraft provided unprecedented insight into Earth’s reddest neighbor, and the mission was deemed a success.
Before Phoenix, we didn’t know if precipitation occurred on Mars. We knew that the polar ice cap advanced south of the Phoenix area in the winter, but we didn’t know how water vapor moved from the atmosphere to the surface ice. Now, we know that it snows and that it’s part of the hydrological cycle on Mars.
Although the mission is over, Phoenix’s legacy lives on; Because researchers will spend the next several years uncovering more of Mars’ secrets by digging through the spacecraft’s trove of data.
Although Phoenix was designed for three months, the spacecraft continued to operate for more than five months. Then, struggling through the growing cold and darkness of the Martian winter, it sent its last short message to Earth on November 2. On November 10, 2008, NASA announced the end of this mission.