Phoenix probe makes scheduled landing on red planet (Lead)

May 26th, 2008 - 9:37 am ICT by admin  

Washington, May 26 (DPA) NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander arrived on the red planet to an exuberant reaction by mission scientists Sunday on Earth. The scene at Jet Propulsion Laboratory mission control in Pasadena, California, was punctuated by hoots and high fives as the probe achieved key milestones leading up to the successful touchdown. Radio contact was confirmed and a parachute critical to a soft landing deployed to ease the landing of the craft on three legs.

The robotic probe landed on tundra above the Martian arctic circle, a terrain never before explored, NASA scientists said.

Seven minutes is all it took for the spacecraft travelling nearly 13,000 mph to hit the Red Planet atmosphere while hitting the brakes to make touchdown. During that time, onboard computers will be working at a manic pace as the spacecraft deployed its parachute while its thrusters prepared the lander for a soft landing.

The mission on Mars hopes to uncover mysteries about water on the frozen planet.

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