Phoenix Successfully Lands on Mars

I love reading about what JPL is doing, especially since I did my internship with them in Summer 2006. On May 25, the Phoenix lander successfully touched down on Mars. While reading about this, the thing that really struck me is the fact that more than half of all Mars missions have failed. Some even call it a curse. Most notable are the failures of the Mars Climate Orbiter and Mars Polar Lander. Wikipedia has interesting articles on these. Russia also had many failures, such as Mars 96, an orbiter launched on November 16, 1996.

“Following the success of Global Surveyor and Pathfinder, another spate of failures occurred in 1998 and 1999, with the Japanese Nozomi orbiter and NASA’s Mars Climate Orbiter, Mars Polar Lander, and Deep Space 2 penetrators all suffering various fatal errors. Mars Climate Orbiter is infamous for Lockheed Martin engineers mixing up the usage of imperial units with metric units, causing the orbiter to burn up while entering Mars’ atmosphere.”

NASA spacecraft successfully lands on Mars

Congrats, NASA/JPL/Caltech/UA!

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