Talk:Phoenix (spacecraft)

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WikiProject icon Phoenix (spacecraft) is included in the Wikipedia CD Selection, see Phoenix (spacecraft) at Schools Wikipedia. Please maintain high quality standards; if you are an established editor your last version in the article history may be used so please don't leave the article with unresolved issues, and make an extra effort to include free images, because non-free images cannot be used on the DVDs.

Micrometres or Micrometers?[edit]

Hmmm, metres is used over here in England and I understand that meters is used in the US... So which one do we use?? I know I would preference metres (being English of course!)!!! And I do realise it's a fairly pedantic point!!! Tachyon502 (talk) 13:06, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

WP:ENGVAR. Since US institutions have lead roles, I'd suggest micrometers (or better, µm).--Curtis Clark (talk) 23:03, 28 August 2008 (UTC)


people need to be more vigilant on fixing the page and keeping it consistent. Even though frequent changes are to be expected due to the success of the mission, I have caught several "bad" additions and people changing the entire layout of the page. People were adding stuff about it finding liquid water which is not true and people were removing whole sections and formatting the pictures to one side of the page. please do not remove anything else unless it is redundant or untrue. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Major n0ob (talkcontribs) 02:19, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

Near the start of the article it is stated that Phoenix is the third succesful static lander. I think this fails to include the Mars Pathfinder lander. (talk) 00:23, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

getting better[edit]

well everybody, the page is looking a little better, I would emphasize that there is still work needed on the images, for example we still need images for one or two more of the instruments which can be found on the phoenix website. formatting is still the more critical aspect needing work on, down towards the instrument's section it does tend to get messy, use the MER rover pages as a guide.Major n0ob (talk) 19:44, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

The Phoenix DVD[edit]

Because the Phoenix DVD is a DVD what DVD Region is it coded for, also does it contain the CSS ecryption. Also are the video/audio codec's included.... (edited for typo) Guest(Mr_Pat) 11:07, 22DEC07 MST

I would imagine it's a data DVD, which would free it from either of those two constraints - but of course I'm not sure. H6a6t6e (talk) 10:46, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia should use Spacecraft Event Time[edit]

To avoid Earth-centric.

Things like spacecraft landing on Mars happen on Mars, which have nothing to do with the planet Earth.

Python eggs (talk) 22:25, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

Because of relativity, it isn't meaningful to talk about "Mars time" consistently; we could just subtract off the 15-odd minutes of transit time, to give the exact time that Phoenix's clock has, but someone else who traveled to Mars more rapidly might stand next to the Phoenix and have a different clock. Since everyone on Earth is (essentially) in the same reference frame, it's most consistent to use our time. Rwald (talk) 05:04, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

I think that UTC should take prime place in the article, with other times, like EDT in brackets. Blaise (talk) 10:18, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

So far no editor or reader of Wikipedia has been proved to be other than on Earth or in near Earth orbit, so Earth-centric seems quite appropriate. In a few years, when we have readers/contributors from elsewhere in the universe, this issue should be revisited. Edison (talk) 14:39, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

There is a misunderstanding. The idea is not to use "mars time". It is to use "earth time" (i.e. UTC) but without the correction for light propagation.
To give an example, the current situation is a bit like saying the Chernobyl disaster happened on 29 April 1986 because that's when the West first found out about it, whereas in fact it occurred on 26 April 1986.
To Edison. Of course we should cater to our readers on Earth. That is why we use UTC, and not mars time or Barycentric Coordinate Time. However adding the propagation delay is artificial.
Incidentally, mars time is a meaningful notion. It can be defined as the proper time of an observer tied to the surface of mars, much in the same way that TAI is the proper time of an observer tied to the surface of the earth. If you want you can then apply a correction to synchronize with the planet's rotation, like UTC does in relation to TAI. Relativity doesn't come into play since the reference frame is fixed as part of the definition of the time scale. Morana (talk) 03:32, 24 June 2008 (UTC)


When I read the article from top to bottom I get the feeling of deja vu due to what look like duplicate images. They are not exact duplicates, but these appear superfluous (in my opinion):

  • Artist's depiction of Phoenix using a robotic arm to dig down to the expected icy layer and Conceptual image. could both be better served by the single informative A labeled look at NASA's Mars Phoenix Lander.;
  • images showing polygons: One of the first surface images from Phoenix., Flat terrain with a polygonal pattern stretches from the foreground to the horizon., Comparison between polygons photographed by Phoenix on Mars... , A stitched photograph showing both the surface and horizon. and Cryoturbation polygons due to the Martian permafrost all show more or less the same thing and could be served with one, maybe at most two in a collage such as the third and fourth ("Comparison between polygons photographed by Phoenix on Mars..." and "A stitched photograph showing both the surface and horizon.").

Eventually the images will need reorganising anyway, but I wonder if we should start now? -84user (talk) 00:35, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

I combined the two MRO images of Phoenix appearing in front of the Heimdall crater into a stack of two at Landing. My edit comment was:
  • suggested collage of MRO images - moved cryoturbation to gallery - please revert this if you don't like it
but instead I moved the cryo image further down and not to the gallery. My next edit was to remove the duplicate image left by my merge. -84user (talk) 02:14, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
I've pushed some sections and accompanying images around - as you see (I hope...), I have a preference for long columns on the right that don't intrude too much into the text. I removed two occurrences of mostly redundant images from the large false-color mosaic. There is still a small "gallery" at the end of images that don't fit, but in my opinion that's because the topics they cover aren't addressed by the text yet. Once that information is transferred and properly elaborated there shouldn't be need of the second gallery any further (the first is to handle a three-way comparison and might be done with some other template if desired). Wnt (talk) 22:50, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
Hmmm. I still like the way I arranged them[1], but my changes received a nasty response.[2] Since I'm not a frequent editor of the article I'm not getting into a revert war about it, but I'll leave you to make your own decisions. Wnt (talk) 19:31, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

(unindent) I agree Wnt, that revision was quite clean in my opinion. This current revision looks a mess, frankly. The nasty response appears to be from an inexperienced editor. I thought it was in the midst of being reorganised but no one has changed it in the last 15 hours. I also will not revert, but I have added a cleanup tag. -84user (talk) 03:13, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

MARDI microphone[edit]

Is there any hope to reactivate the MARDI microphone now, so that the sounds of Martian windstorms could be heard? (or isn't it that sensitive?) Wnt (talk) 22:46, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

They weren't certain, but would like to utilize it if they could. Search the NASA press releases for the exact wording --Harald Khan Ճ 13:55, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

I was going to ask the same question :) seems logical to me. not only that but why not reactivate the camera too. If the only possible problem was a possible landing issue.. then that would not be an issue now.. and if the camera was going to film the descent I assume its on the bottom of the lander...or right next to the big ice like substance under the lander. seems to me that would be a good position for it to take a nice picture. my guess is if they can activate the microphone.. they will wait till they stuff all the ovens and just before the 90 days is up.. just in case it screws something up. - (talk) 08:24, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

UPDATE Aug 21 2012: A Mars Science Laboratory team member revealed at a verified interview on Reddit that after the successful completion of the mission (Phoenix's), an attempt was made to use the microphone. They sent the signal to power it on but only empty files came back, so it was assumed the microphone was frozen solid. They left it on to warm it up but the last bit of power on the rover went out (as expected) before another attempt could be made.

I think this is important information that should be on the article, considering the substantial amount of interest on the only microphone successfully landed on Mars to date. But I'm not an experienced Wikipedia editor and I'm not sure how to properly add it. Are there any experienced editors that could step in? Thank you. - (talk) 18:34, 21 August 2012 (UTC)

Terrestial contamination of Phoenix with bacteria and potential contamination of landing zone with water from engine[edit]

Hi all,

today it has been discussed at

that Phoenix might have brought his own bacteria to Mars. So positive test results with respect to say biogenic carbon compounds or even primitive organisms or remnants therefrom may not be a proof of martian live.

Another thing puzzles me: Typical fluid rocket engines use fuels like liquid hydrogen, methylhydrazine, dimethylhydrazine, hydrocarbons and the like. Upon oxidation with an oxygen based oxidiser like l-O2 or N2O4 this will give rise to H2O formation as well as nitrogen, nitrogen oxides, CO, CO2 and due to cold martian soil which would quench the combustion flame higher carbon compounds. So what did Phoenix use as propellant in order to avoid such contamination? Does anyone know what the descent motor uses?

dichrra 20:24, 11 June 2008 (CEST)

Hydrazine. (talk) 23:35, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for the info. Do you have any open reference to this? dichrra 07:41, 12 June 2008 (CEST)

Northern hemisphere[edit]

P is said to have landed in the martian northern hemisphere. How can we tell which way is North? Mars has no magnetic field. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:41, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

See Poles of astronomical bodies, which has "The north pole is that pole of rotation that lies on the north side of the invariable plane of the solar system". The north side is that determined by the Earth's geographic north "side". So looking at the solar system from "above" (think of a spaceship launched from Earth's north pole straight up), looking "down" one sees all the planets' rotational North poles. -84user (talk) 08:23, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

Touch down and first scoop of dirt, first PICS[edit]

I added these turning moments in the Lander's voyage: The Lander's Robotic Arm touched soil on the red planet for the first time on May 31, 2008. It accurately scooped dirt, sampling the Martian soil for ice, and the Phoenix's Robotic Arm Camera shot images of what appears to be exposed ice and footprint-shaped impression, captured by Phoenix's Stereo Surface Imager. Ray Arvidson of Washington University in St. Louis said:"We could very well be seeing rock, or we could be seeing exposed ice in the retrorocket blast zone.", Phoenix lander samples a little Martian dirtThe robotic arm will start digging after more days of, Surface ice found as Phoenix prepares to dig</ref> The Robotic Arm Camera also shot the unusual light-colored patch or substance just under or in front of Phoenix's landing, NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day: Unusual Light Patch Under Phoenix Lander on Mars--Florentino floro (talk) 09:04, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

Image cleanup needed[edit]

A day ago I added a cleanup tag with "see Talk:Phoenix (spacecraft)#Images" (above). The tag has been removed with a request to specify what is wrong. Using a 1200 pixel wide display I looked at featured article Hubble Space Telescope (although not perfect) to identify the problems:

  • the most glaring problems are:
    • Communications from the surface - the photomosaic is the only normal one there
    • Surface stereo imager - section header indented - probably needs a Clr template or images moved
    • Mars Descent Imager - section header indented
    • Meteorological station - larger than normal images in a strange hardcoded gallery, frankly this was far better the way User:Wnt left it
  • there are few minor issues (which I've been guilty of myself):
    • History of the program is separated from the following text by the left-aligned image - maybe move it down a sentence
    • Launch ditto, while Landing shows how it can be fixed
    • Robotic arm and camera ditto
    • Thermal and evolved gas analyzer

The other sections appear Ok, even the gallery at the end. I hope this is specific enough. I have reinstated the cleanup tag in the article. -84user (talk) 15:54, 3 June 2008 (UTC) (removed few days ago, was only yesterday! 84user (talk) 15:57, 3 June 2008 (UTC))

Recent changes appear promotional[edit]

Some recent edits to this article contain interesting information, but I believe they need to be edited to remove overt advertising. See this diff. I think providing commercial links to two products for sale is going over the line, especially with phrases like "help farmers and scientists conserve our water resources". The use of an account that is named after the company being written about, to make edits only in this one article, and only to write about itself, also smells too much like POV, and original research. However, there is relevant information here and citing back to the company's commercial web site seems reasonable if the prose is made encyclopedic. I intend to clean out the commercial tinge of this, but I wanted to document my intent here first. CosineKitty (talk) 01:55, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

I have finished removing the material I considered promotional, making the formatting of this section consistent with the rest of the article, and converted the inline link to a proper web citation. As a newer contributor to Wikipedia, I am interested in what the more experienced among us think about this approach to a situation like this. Thanks! CosineKitty (talk) 02:07, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for your work! To my eye it looks like you used exactly the right approach. A guideline worth mentioning (for benefit of the commercially-motivated editor) is WP:COI. It also looks like you did the right thing (without needing a guideline ;-) as described at WP:BITE. If you felt like it, you could add a personal welcome to the commerically-motivated editor's talk page. "Educating" new contributors who have this kind of domain-specific knowledge about how wikipedia works, and thus helping them become valued contributors, is always a "good thing!" Thanks again for the work you've done making this article better.... (sdsds - talk) 04:20, 5 June 2008 (UTC)


TECP is part of MECA and should be in the same section. The Mars Descent Imager as it is not used should be last in the list!--Stone (talk) 08:33, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

Hi Stone, I just came here to say the same thing about TECP, but you beat me to it. In fact, this brings up further issues:
  • How detailed do we want to get about every instrument package, who made it, etc? We might be talking about hundreds of companies here. I really don't know.
The instruments and what they do should be the largest part of the article, but this is very personal, because I do this kind of hardware too.--Stone (talk) 17:25, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
  • The MECA section already has summary information that seems to overlap with the detailed information about the Decagon TECP components.
  • The MECA section bluntly states that JPL built MECA, but this seems an oversimplification at best. Maybe JPL contracted out the work, specified the requirements, and assembled the parts. But all of this is speculation on my part.
You are right. JPL integrated various components that were all built by third parties. See the last paragraph of [3]. Morana (talk) 03:09, 24 June 2008 (UTC)
This aspect of the overall article is starting to bother me. It needs help, but I am not sure which way to go here. CosineKitty (talk) 15:31, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
I have made 2 simple changes: I moved the TECP section immediately after the MECA section, and I changed the first sentence in TECP to indicate that it is part of MECA. The other problems I mentioned above still need attention. CosineKitty (talk) 16:58, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
For the RAC I know it on detaile who did what, and most of the time the media is not getting it right and the contributors simply say we built it although they are only PI or gave out a contract. --Stone (talk) 17:25, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

Television Specials[edit]

On Wednesday, June 11, at 10:00 p.m. EST, Discovery Channel will air a one-hour special behind the scenes of the Phoenix mission, including new footage from landing day. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Borges911 (talkcontribs) 15:14, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

Change the Image in the table[edit]

I think the image in the table should be changed to one that has Phoenix dipicted in a fully deployed state, meaning with the solar panals etc.--Theoneintraining (talk) 19:19, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

Water Ice versus Carbon Dioxide Ice[edit]

The temperature at the Phoenix landing site varies between 185 K and 241 K and the pressure is at 8.29 bar.

Triple points
H2O: 273.16 K, 0.006 bar
CO2: 216.55 K, 5.17 bar

Based on the pressure-temperature phase diagrams it is more likely that the white material in the trenches is CO2 which passed through the solid, liquid and vapor phases. The presence of damp soil may indicate CO2. --Jbergquist (talk) 10:40, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

8.29 millibar. That's very much lower than CO2's triple point. As for liquid water, the temperature is far too low. Frozen water is possible. -84user (talk) 12:22, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the correction. I was checking for errors. Liquid CO2 does not exist at the higher pressures on Earth. I did miss that the pressure was in millibar. --Jbergquist (talk) 16:11, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
The temperatures stated are probably atmospheric temperatures. Ground temperatures may be different. --Jbergquist (talk) 16:42, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
I was wondering what the presence of a liquid would indicate. The atmospheric pressure at the Phoenix landing site is above the triple point of water so an increase of 30 K over the daily high temperature could melt water ice. One also has to consider physical states below the surface and how pressure and temperature vary with depth. Could liquid CO2 exist below the Martian surface? It might be prudent to start working on phase diagrams. --Jbergquist (talk) 18:25, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
The ground temperatures on mars are different from the temperatures given by phoenix, but not so much. The temperature profile within the surface is something which interested scientists for years. The moles of previous unsucssful missions should give answers, but now the probes at the end of the arm will meassure the temperature in the trench and help to answer this question. Here on earth the first meter of soil are influenced by the season and after that layer the temperature is the average temperatur over the year. here in germany 9°C, as long as you do not go to deep. The temperature deeper in the crust of mars will increase, because it is still producing heat by radioactive decay.
The H20 or CO2 discussion will be solved by the TEGA instrument soon!!--Stone (talk) 19:09, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
It will be interesting to see what the physical chemists say is happening to the white patches in the photos. It is possible that there are entropy changes taking place. The tendency for the entropy to increase is a global rule so the entropy of a portion of a system can decrease. There is also an open system involved with an energy input from sunlight flowing through the surface material. --Jbergquist (talk) 20:25, 21 June 2008 (UTC)

Please explain to this simple layman why discovering ice is significant when we've known for years that there is water ice at the pole? (talk) 03:20, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

Good question. I'm also just a simple layman. I wasn't even sure there was general consensus on large amounts of water ice existing at the poles... until I just read this. So yeah, what's notable about these particular specks of sublimating ice? This is the first Martian ice touched by an earth machine, I suppose. --Ds13 (talk) 17:18, 24 June 2008 (UTC)
The impression that I got from the news conference is that they think it is water ice. Actually finding water in significant quanties on Mars is definitely significant. There is also the question of the presence of liquid at higher pressures below the surface. An example on Earth is would be a subglacial lake such as Lake Untersee in Antartica. More could be mentioned about the possibility of frost heaving at the location of the Phoenix lander on Mars. --Jbergquist (talk) 01:20, 25 June 2008 (UTC)
Sure, but as the link (article) I provided above claims... "Mars possesses ice caps at both poles, which mainly consist of water ice;". Maybe the the Climate of Mars article is wrong or speculating too much. --Ds13 (talk) 01:50, 25 June 2008 (UTC)
One of the mission's main objectives is to analyze the trace contaminants present in Martian permafrost. That's why they picked a polar landing site. Everyone expected shallow subsurface water ice to be present, but if it hadn't been there within reach of the robotic arm, the mission could not have succeeded. WolfmanSF (talk) 21:32, 25 June 2008 (UTC)
There's the question of what happened to water on Mars. NASA's objective is to follow the water trail. If it can be confirmed that there is water in the arctic regions in the form of permafrost that would be a step along the way. If one looks at the phase diagram of water one will notice that sublimation and deposition can take place at different temperatures. The transition if favored at lower temperatures because of the entropy changes ΔS1 = -ΔQD/T1 > ΔS2 = ΔQS/T2 if T2 > T1 where ΔQD = -ΔQS are the heats of deposition and sublimation respectively. So it is possible that Mars was freeze dried. One should also note that any ground water would tend to diffuse by the effect of pressure and capillary action and that the interior of Mars is colder than that of Earth and any impermeable thermal barrier would probably be deeper. --Jbergquist (talk) 22:19, 25 June 2008 (UTC)
One has to think in terms of dispersal of heat to a thermal reservoir to compute the entropy changes. In each case the entropy change is ΔQ/T in going from vapor to solid and T is the ambient temperature but at the lower temperature the entropy change is greater. --Jbergquist (talk) 23:37, 25 June 2008 (UTC)
A few observations; as far as I can tell, there is no solid experimental evidence that the ice detected at the poles is water or CO2. Up till today, the Phoenix has not detected water on the soil scraped from the ice surface.... that is not good. In addition, the absence of a protective magnetosphere (like that of Earth) or an ozone layer, allows solar radiation to cleave any H2O at the surface. Remember that martian atmosphere and pressure are simply not water friendly, and there is a reason why there is only a trace amount of water in the martian atmosphere. Don't be disapointed the poles tun out to be covered with dry ice (CO2); "expectation is the source of all suffering." Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 19:25, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

Descent image incorrectly/misleadingly captioned[edit]

The caption on the image from MRO of Phoenix's descent incorrectly/misleadingly labels it as a "close up". A 'close up' isn't the same thing as 'high resolution' or 'high magnification', both of which are also subjective - so I don't suggest replacing 'close up' with one of those, either! The situation at hand is the same situation as when someone incorrectly refers to a telescopic image of the Moon from Earth as a close up (when in fact any photograph telescopic or not taken of the Moon from the Earth actually produces an image of the Moon at the same distance, due to its fixed location relative to us). In this instance, they mean a magnified image. An example of 'close up' photography would be macro photography (see ) since MRO was not close to Phoenix at the time, no matter how detailed, large or high resolution the image it is not a 'close up'. I think the words 'close up' should be stricken from the description/caption. (talk) 15:21, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

I've reworded two captions to avoid either close up or magnification. -84user (talk) 01:12, 25 June 2008 (UTC)

Vertically stretched image[edit]

Kudos to whoever thought of stretching the horizon image. That's a great idea. --Doradus (talk) 17:39, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

Finding Ice[edit]

As there is already Ice on the polar ice caps, could someone explain to me why this is such a significant find? SGGH speak! 19:34, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

It isn't. You might be interested in my comment on the matter: Main_Page/Errors#Phoenix. Morana (talk) 19:55, 24 June 2008 (UTC)
Well, the chemistry lab will experiment on this. The NASA scientists are like children, too or over anxious, even if ice had not been confirmed by the yet to do experiment. So I added this latest, but FIRST ever chem test on Mars.
On June 24, 2008, NASA's scientists launched a major series of tests. The robotic arm will scoop up more soil and deliver it to 3 different on-board analyzers (an oven that will bake it and test the emitted gases, and then, a microscopic imager will send photos back to Earth), and a wet chemistry, NASA: With Martian ice discovered, major tests beginning The lander's Robotic Arm scoop therefore, positioned over the Wet Chemistry Lab delivery funnel on Sol 29, the 29th Martian day after landing, or June 24 2008. The soil will be transferred to the instrument on Sol 30, and Phoenix will perform the first wet chemistry test of polar Martian soil. Sample delivery and analysis is set for Wednesday as the science highlight on Wednesday, testing the soil for salts, acidity, inter alia. The wet chemistry lab is part of the suite of tools called the Microscopy, Electrochemistry and Conductivity Analyzer, or, Phoenix Lander Arm Poised to Deliver Sample for Wet Chemistry--Florentino floro (talk) 09:22, 25 June 2008 (UTC)
The question is what kind of ice it is: Water ice or CO2 ice ('dry ice'). If it is water ice, is important because life requires of water at the most basic biochemical level to exist. Then you can look at the past and future and look for past traces of life or techniques to inoculate Mars with life, and do terraforming of Mars. As of today, the Phoenix has not detected water on the samples scraped off the ice surface.BatteryIncluded (talk) 19:34, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

Did we have final proofs of water?[edit]

I don't mean evidences. We had evidences of water from the gully a couple of years ago. Then now that evidence means nothing at all, it was rejected. So... before NASA go and search for ancient life possibility and we all claim anything about a wet Mars, could we PRECISELY state if any experiment proved "yes this is water" or have we only evidences? Can we, once for all, avoid messing up evidences and proofs? For what I know, TEGA will only work once again (possible short circuits) so we are already sure that we won't even have a double check. Just as with Vikings. Can this voice be more scientific and, most of all, historically based (not dream-based), please? Thank you. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:02, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

The water content of the atmosphere was meassured years ago, so there is water. The gammaray spectrometer is also enough proof. The disapearing white stuff is also water, the temperatures allow no dry ice. But what qualifies as proof for you? MS-spectra? But from the soil it could also be water from crystalls or intercalated so TEGA will only give proof if the water comes of at temperatures below 30°C (te boiling point at 7mbar).--Stone (talk) 18:00, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
Water in the atmosphere is present only in trace amounts. So far they are suggestive observations on the ice: Phoenix's landing seems is too warm for dry ice; the average daily temperature is about -70 F while dry ice requires temperatures lower than about -109 F. Proof will be baking an ice specimen and analysing the resultant gases. Soon...... BatteryIncluded (talk) 17:35, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

And we have water! Who's willing to update the page? We have water!!!!! (talk) 21:43, 1 August 2008 (UTC)

Can I add a quote: "The fact that it melted at zero degrees Celsius leaves very little doubt that it is standard water ice," Boynton said. He said sensors also tested the chemical makeup of the vapor and found the familiar combination of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. So, how comes that a scientist still gives (little) space to doubts, but here we're talking of alien water as an obvious thing? This is a great confusion between evidences and proofs. Can I write an article on that? Under which name? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:01, 1 August 2008 (UTC)

The experimental confirmation of water ice presence has already been inluded in the article.BatteryIncluded (talk) 02:02, 2 August 2008 (UTC)
Good to hear, but it's so strange that the first confirmation of water ice on the soil had such a small place. I think this won't fit the "follow the water" importance, but ok. Useless to write more. Go on and mix evidences and proofs. (talk) 13:53, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
Or: you can put down your legal dictionary and pick up a scientific dictionary.BatteryIncluded (talk) 14:53, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
My dictionary? So the ad-hominem attack has started? It's me the problem? I included a quote from Boynton but you chose the attack "my dictionary". Wow.. brilliant. Can I report your behaviour to anyone of Wiki? BTW I won't reply anymore to you, BatteryIncluded, because you do not offer discussion, as you misuse my words. The proof is above. (talk) 15:11, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
I am not sorry your sensitivity got offended by the correct semantic use of the words 'proof' vs. 'evidence' in the realm of science and in this article. Good bye. BatteryIncluded (talk) 15:35, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

White House briefing on MECA findings[edit]

A story in Aviation Week has reported on the potential for life on Mars. No clue what that means, but I find it interesting that the White House was briefed. I can't find where Aviation Week got their information, but is such a thing normal? Louis Waweru  Talk  10:21, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

It's probably fake story. (talk) 12:24, 3 August 2008 (UTC)
Also covered on slashdot, but seems to be from the same source -- (talk) 19:52, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

It is the first time any spacecraft has discovered water on another planet.[edit]

As from your references about the findings of the water ice in the soil (ref #39), please note that you offer an article that states "It is the first time any spacecraft has discovered water on another planet.". But, still and again, it seems that it isn't worth of creating a new paragraph? That's REALLY funny... (talk) 14:05, 4 August 2008 (UTC)


Keep an eye on that development....It may be contamination from rocket fuel. If it is naturally occuring in Mars, they will have to back-pedal their asparragus-growing statement. It’s also interesting how the two rovers elsewhere on Mars haven’t also reported measuring perchlorate in their tests using the Moss-Bauer spectrometer instruments they have. BatteryIncluded (talk) 23:58, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

The press conference was quite clear: We are sure it is perchlorate and it is very unlikely that we brought it with us. The rovers would not recognize perchlorate even it is in gramm quantities. Neiter the Mößbauer (only for iron) nor the APXS (only for the elements, not compounds) are capable to meassure it.--Stone (talk) 11:52, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

Is there any report of any equipment malfunctions as of yet?[edit]

Thanks CompuHacker (talk) 06:55, 6 September 2008 (UTC)

Merge proposal[edit]

It is suggested that Snow on mars be merged here. Your comments are welcome. Truthanado (talk) 02:12, 11 October 2008 (UTC)


'Snow on Mars' belongs to Climate of Mars. -BatteryIncluded (talk) 12:04, 11 October 2008 (UTC)

Lazarus mode[edit]

NASA archives have nothing on "Lazarus mode". It is an expression just invented by the media, and we should write its correct name: "safe mode" or "Spacecraft Safing". -BatteryIncluded (talk) 05:38, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

Again, please note that the reference quoted makes no mention to a "Lazarus Mode". The NASA archives and databases have nothing on it, but has this on Spacecraft Safing or Spacecraft Safe Mode:[4], [5]

All planetary spacecraft are loaded with "fault protection" software designed to safeguard the craft in the event of various kinds of unusual events. When certain events take place, this software puts the spacecraft into a so-called "safe" mode that protects it and places it in standby, awaiting intervention by ground controllers. Fault protection software is usually disabled during critical flight events such as landings, orbit insertions and some flybys in order to prevent a minor glitch from interfering the event."

"Safe mode is a standby state used to keep the spacecraft dormant."[6]

In the very famous cases of the Spirit and Oportunity Rovers where they are placed on "hibernation" through the winter, NASA calls it by its technical name: Safe Mode:[7]

"After all the recorded data has been received on the ground we will again command the spacecraft into its safe mode or hibernation state."

Lack of power is one of such events that put the spacecraft into safe mode. Please look it up. I have no problem if a note is included in the article indicating that spacecraft safing (safe mode) is nicknamed Lazarus Mode by the mass media. Thank you, -BatteryIncluded (talk) 18:58, 4 November 2008 (UTC)

Phoenix Loses Power[edit]

Mars lander Phoenix has lost power and is no longer communicating with Earth. The problem was sunlight: With the winter sun at Phoenix's landing site hanging lower day-by-day and an unexpected dust storm dimming the sun even more, Phoenix's solar panels could not gather the light they needed to charge the lander's batteries. Mission planners always knew Phoenix would not survive the harsh Martian winter, so this turn of events is no surprise. Farewell, Phoenix, and congratulations to the Phoenix team on a very successful mission —Preceding unsigned comment added by Govardhanvt (talkcontribs) 12:05, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

Mars Phoenix Lander Finishes Successful Work on Red Planet[edit]

Mars Phoenix Lander Finishes Successful Work on Red Planet11.10.08 Phoenix spacecraft on Mars. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Calech/University of Arizona Full image and caption

During the first 90 Martian days after its May 25, 2008, landing on an arctic plain of Mars, NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander dug several trenches in the workspace reachable with the lander's robotic arm. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Calech/University of Arizona/Texas A&M University 

Full image and caption

These images show sublimation of ice in the trench informally called "Dodo-Goldilocks" over the course of four days. The images were taken on June 15 and June 19, 2008. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Calech/University of Arizona/Texas A&M University 

Full image and caption

Image archive Animations and videos Video: mission highlights WASHINGTON -- NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander has ceased communications after operating for more than five months. As anticipated, seasonal decline in sunshine at the robot's arctic landing site is not providing enough sunlight for the solar arrays to collect the power necessary to charge batteries that operate the lander's instruments.

Mission engineers last received a signal from the lander on Nov. 2. Phoenix, in addition to shorter daylight, has encountered a dustier sky, more clouds and colder temperatures as the northern Mars summer approaches autumn. The mission exceeded its planned operational life of three months to conduct and return science data.

The project team will be listening carefully during the next few weeks to hear if Phoenix revives and phones home. However, engineers now believe that is unlikely because of the worsening weather conditions on Mars. While the spacecraft's work has ended, the analysis of data from the instruments is in its earliest stages.

"Phoenix has given us some surprises, and I'm confident we will be pulling more gems from this trove of data for years to come," said Phoenix Principal Investigator Peter Smith of the University of Arizona in Tucson.

Launched Aug. 4, 2007, Phoenix landed May 25, 2008, farther north than any previous spacecraft to land on the Martian surface. The lander dug, scooped, baked, sniffed and tasted the Red Planet's soil. Among early results, it verified the presence of water-ice in the Martian subsurface, which NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter first detected remotely in 2002. Phoenix's cameras also returned more than 25,000 pictures from sweeping vistas to near the atomic level using the first atomic force microscope ever used outside Earth.

"Phoenix not only met the tremendous challenge of landing safely, it accomplished scientific investigations on 149 of its 152 Martian days as a result of dedicated work by a talented team," said Phoenix Project Manager Barry Goldstein at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

Phoenix's preliminary science accomplishments advance the goal of studying whether the Martian arctic environment has ever been favorable for microbes. Additional findings include documenting a mildly alkaline soil environment unlike any found by earlier Mars missions; finding small concentrations of salts that could be nutrients for life; discovering perchlorate salt, which has implications for ice and soil properties; and finding calcium carbonate, a marker of effects of liquid water.

Phoenix findings also support the goal of learning the history of water on Mars. These findings include excavating soil above the ice table, revealing at least two distinct types of ice deposits; observing snow descending from clouds; providing a mission-long weather record, with data on temperature, pressure, humidity and wind; observations of haze, clouds, frost and whirlwinds; and coordinating with NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to perform simultaneous ground and orbital observations of Martian weather.

"Phoenix provided an important step to spur the hope that we can show Mars was once habitable and possibly supported life," said Doug McCuistion, director of the Mars Exploration Program at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "Phoenix was supported by orbiting NASA spacecraft providing communications relay while producing their own fascinating science. With the upcoming launch of the Mars Science Laboratory, the Mars Program never sleeps."

The University of Arizona leads the Phoenix mission with project management at JPL and development partnership at Lockheed Martin Corporation in Denver. International contributions came from the Canadian Space Agency; the University of Neuchatel, Switzerland; the universities of Copenhagen and Aarhus in Denmark; the Max Planck Institute in Germany; the Finnish Meteorological Institute; and Imperial College of London.

For additional information about Phoenix mission findings, visit: Media contacts: Dwayne Brown Headquarters, Washington 202-358-1726

Guy Webster/Rhea Borja Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. 818-354-6278/0850,

Lori Stiles University of Arizona, Tucson 520-626-4402

08-284 —Preceding unsigned comment added by Govardhanvt (talkcontribs) 12:18, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

Add Landing Date to Beginning?[edit]

Hi: I just found this article and am wondering why the Mars landing date is not included somewhere in the beginning/at the top of the page. Is that omitted for a reason? Martini1123 (talk) 03:26, 14 February 2009 (UTC)

File:Sol_004_lidar.jpg may be deleted[edit]

I have tagged File:Sol_004_lidar.jpg, which is in use in this article for deletion because it does not have a copyright tag. If a copyright tag is not added within seven days the image will be deleted. --Chris 09:54, 28 April 2009 (UTC)


Phoenix lnder on twitter was a pretty big hit and won a twitter award Probably as notable if not more than the DVD. Should be added if anyone has time . - Ravedave (talk) 19:50, 9 November 2009 (UTC)

Price/cost of the mission[edit]

I think the cost estimate of the mission should be added to the web page. I found in that "The cost of the Phoenix mission is $386 million, which includes the launch.". Can anybody confirm this cost estimate? Yebbey (talk) 13:47, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

Suggestion to add mission patch[edit]

The patch is located here: [[8]]. It would be best for consistency with other missions to include this as well. Being a publicly funded project, the patch is of course in the public domain as well. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Xession (talkcontribs) 00:37, 7 December 2010 (UTC)

"Triumph" mention removed[edit]

Removed this from the "end of mission" section:

Immediately prior, Phoenix sent its final message: "Triumph" in binary code.[1]

The reference is simply the message in the Phoenix twitter feed, not any kind of official claim that the lander itself sent the message. Any news articles I found also only state that this was in the twitter feed and do not state it was sent by the lander. The tweet itself is not particularly interesting, so I've removed the line. If anyone can find credible evidence that Phoenix itself sent the message it can be replaced.

AFAIK - the following reference seems to be a sufficiently reliable citation supporting the claim - and has been added to the main article => < ref name="WRD-20081110">Madrigal, Alexis (November 10, 2008). "Mars Phoenix Lander Runs Out of Juice". Wired (magazine). Retrieved February 26, 2014. </ref> - in any case - Enjoy! :) Drbogdan (talk) 18:09, 26 February 2014 (UTC)