Sunday, May 25, 2008

Why Phoenix

Many people have asked, why is the University of Arizona, based in Tucson, AZ, naming a spacecraft Phoenix?

Phoenix, as it now, was built from the Mars Surveyor 2001 Lander. The mission was canceled after the failure of the Mars Polar Lander in late 1999. The two spacecraft were very similar, and NASA decided not to risk another failure. The spacecraft was stored at Lockheed Martin for several years, until a new mission was proposed by Peter Smith, which would use this spacecraft, fix it up, and give it a new mission, namely, to find direct evidence of water ice at the north pole of Mars. It was given the name Phoenix because it was reborn from the ashes of two failed missions, the Mars Polar Lander, and Mars Surveyor Lander.

But, if you are still curious, then Peter Smith will tell you, that an objective is to send Phoenix to Mars.

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