News | Space

Mars Orbiter Photographs Phoenix Mars Lander in Descent


Here's a pretty amazing photo.

ProbeIt's a shot snapped by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which began circling the red planet back in March 2006, of the Phoenix Mars Lander (illustration, right), which made a successful landing over the weekend. The photo, the first-ever shot by one spacecraft of another spacecraft in the Martian atmosphere, shows the module descending by parachute on Sunday evening.

Quite a feat directed from 35 million miles away.

Images from the lander almost immediately began pouring in once it had reached the surface. The probe landed near the planet's north pole where scientists hope to find evidence of water and life.


Two informative clips describing the Martian mission, AFTER THE JUMP...

Feed This post's comment feed


  1. My God!! That picture taken of the Phoenix by the MRO is just... WOW! We have NEVER had a picture like that taken before, ever!! Man, i'll bet the folks at NASA were wetting themselves when they saw it! Truly amazing, thanks Andy!

    Posted by: virgoboy | May 27, 2008 10:06:24 AM

  2. Another amazing shot from NASA! There is a higher contrast version on the lander site.

    Not sure what the 35 million miles is all about, the two planets are much further apart right now and rarely get that close. Current distance to Mars is 172 million miles.

    Posted by: anon | May 27, 2008 12:21:45 PM

  3. I am so happy we have smart people in the world, people who can figure all this stuff out. I can't even figure out our new toaster oven and these guys figured out how to build a rover, send it to Mars, have it land and start recording brain hurts just thinking about whats involved. Again, thank god we have smart people.

    Posted by: john | May 27, 2008 5:25:34 PM

  4. i love mars stuff. it's so wild to think of these complicated machines navigating their own set-down, unfolding their robot arms and getting to work in these extreme environments without a human being within 100 million miles.

    @Anon: the 35 million miles figure is because the image was taken from a mars-orbiting satellite, not an earth-orbiting one.

    Posted by: humanist | May 27, 2008 5:37:26 PM

  5. John: technically, it's a lander, not a rover. It's not going to roam the surface.

    Humanist: The picture was taken from 185 miles up, not 35 million miles away. Still an extremely impressive feat. 35 million miles is the closest the two planets (earth and Mars) ever get.

    Posted by: anon | May 27, 2008 6:30:44 PM

  6. Here is a link to a better (newer) version of the photo:

    Posted by: anon | May 27, 2008 10:04:07 PM

  7. Almost 500 million dollars spent to get the Orbiter to Mars.... Is it a priority? Spending on, say, satellite technology would be more useful,I think......

    Posted by: john | May 28, 2008 12:48:10 AM

  8. this is all a waste of time and you should all do somthing better with your lives

    Posted by: billy bob | Mar 9, 2009 10:03:49 AM

Post a comment


« «Chace Crawford Used as Pretty Photo Prop on Bar Crawl« «