Phoenix: A Science and Weather Station on Mars
June 21 & 22, 2007
Launching in August 2007 for arrival in late May 2008, the Phoenix mission will bring 11 science experiments to explore the nothern near-polar environment on Mars. The spacecraft's landing site is between 65 and 72 degrees north, analogous to central Greenland and Alaska. Like Alaska, the Martian arctic plains have permafrost. The ice may have melted and re-frozen over millions of years, making this a location that life, if it ever existed on Mars, might have found suitable. While Phoenix is not a life-detection mission, its objectives are to understand how water and ice at the landing location have interacted with the soils over time and to understand if the environment is or could have been compatible with life.
Dr. Leslie Tamppari
Project Scientist, Phoenix Mars Lander