Phoenix Mars Mission
NASA's Phoenix mission is an robotic mission, the first lander in NASA's "Scout class". The lander is intended to land in Mars' north polar region, and the scientific package aims to answer the questions:
- Can the Martian arctic support life?
- What is the history of water at the landing site?
- How is the Martian climate affected by polar dynamics?
The mission name derives from several components built previously for cancelled missions, including 2001's Mars Surveyor lander.
The mission is of considerable interest to planners of human missions to Mars, as many practical mission designs assume the availability of easily-extractable water for fuel production and industrial processes. The polar regions are expected to be the most likely places to find water ice.
Phoenix was launched on 4th August 2007 on a Delta II 7925 rocket, and is scheduled to land on Mars on 25th May 2008. The landing site is to be the ice-capped northern polar region, and the primary mission is expected to last around 90 sols.