The Flight of the Phoenix

  • Patrick Moore


We were all very aware of the importance of the missions. Phoenix was a new type of probe. By the start of 2000, there were several space craft studying the red planet, including the highly successful Mars Reconnaissance Orbitor (MRO) and the two amazing rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, which showed no signs of flagging even though they had been active for so much longer than their planners had dared to hope. Phoenix would not move around after arrival, and neither would it depend on airbags to cushion its landing – it was too massive for that. Instead it would use parachute braking and then retro-pockets, finally touching down gently in the Vastitas Borealis – the Martian Arctic. At the time of landing, that region was in constant sunlight; not until the following September would Phoenix see its first sunset. It could not expect to survive through the long, bitterly cold night, so that its active lifetime was bound to be limited. It would not last for more than 90 sols (92 Earth days, so the planners thought).


Space Craft Martian Atmosphere Cold Night Mission Control Active Lifetime 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrick Moore
    • 1
  1. 1.FarthingsSelseyUK

Personalised recommendations