CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., 6 Aug 2007. NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander, designed and built by Lockheed Martin, launched this weekend from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station aboard a Delta II rocket provided by United Launch Alliance.
Phoenix will travel 422 million miles over its 9 1/2- month journey.
Phoenix is the first mission of NASA's Mars Scout Program. Scheduled to arrive at Mars on May 25, 2008, the spacecraft will land on the icy northern latitudes of Mars. During its 90-day primary mission, Phoenix will dig trenches with its robotic arm into the frozen layers of water below the surface. The spacecraft will use various on-board instruments to analyze the contents of the ice and soil - checking for the presence of organic compounds and other conditions favorable for life.
During the next few weeks, engineers from Lockheed Martin, JPL, and NASA will perform checkout and calibrations on the spacecraft, and make the first of several trajectory control maneuvers to maintain a course to Mars.