NASA has successfully landed the 'Phoenix Mars Lander' on Mars after a nine-month, 422-million-mile voyage and is now closer to possibly discovering life or non-life on the 'Red Planet'.
In attempt to learn more about life possibly present or in the past on Mars, the fourth planet from the Sun, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) launched a spacecraft just a little under a year ago (296 days to be exact) from the earth to the "Red Planet".
Scientists celebrated a safe landing on Mars of the spacecraft Phoenix yesterday. After a nine-month, 422-million-mile voyage, the Phoenix Mars Lander (as it's referred to by name) landed on the Martian surface after traveling 13,000 mph across outerspace slowing down to a mere 5 mph to land successfully on the planet's surface.
NASA reported on its Web site just after the 7:53 p.m. EDT landing.
Although this isn't the first attempt, this marks a successful landing without a crash which occurred more than 8 years ago in December of '99. The first attempt was later followed by more attempts with two being missions which landed on the planet in large "air bags" unlike Phoenix which landed on extended spacecraft arms/legs with rocket thrusters and a parachute. After making its landing, the spacecraft then deployed its solar panel to generate electricity for experiments and other on-board systems.
The Phoenix will now begin a three-month-long mission consisting of testing soil and other experiments aimed at determining whether presently life exists or did in the past on the planet Mars which is possibly now one of the most popular planets in the solar system.