Talk:Phoenix (spacecraft)/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2

Other spacecraft

There is another spacecraft, or at least spacecraft design, called the Phoenix: Phoenix C

NASA press release

Except for the first couple of paragraphs, the text of this article is verbatim that of the NASA press release on Phoenix:

Though the material is not copyrighted, is some sort of credit needed in the article? Cheers --Ajr 12:28, 5 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Nope. US Government cannot claim copyright. That press release is public domain. Sennheiser! 12:54, 5 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Spring cleaning

I've been working for the last 2 days on doing some spring cleaning to the site. Generally speaking, this article now has some more interesting information. I tried to use the information that was already here, combining it in a new way, to make it more readable, and providing information that others might find interesting. Still needing to be done are: Add information about the spacecraft's power/comunication/etc systems, adding info about another instrument or two, etc. Still, I at least think the changes are somewhat useful. Any comments? Tuvas 14:50, 2 April 2006 (UTC)

No airbags?

Why does this mission require the use of rockets to lower the lander to the surface? I thought that airbags were the safest option, no failures to date while the last Mars lander to use rockets was never heard from again.

Also, it would be great if we could get larger versions of the instrumentation images.--Hooperbloob 15:41, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

Some missions you just don't want to have bouncing around on Mars. Remember, this has a complete science lab, you don't want to have that bouncing around on Mars. As to larger versions of the instruments, well, be my guest, if you can find them. Tuvas 01:50, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

The probe on this mission is too heavy to use the inflated landing pad technology used on the spirit and opportunity rover missions. those two landings came dangerously close to maxing out the impact shielding from their their inflated landing bags--Maximilian77 00:14, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

I think it's also because this is supposed to be a test flight for some of the technology that will be used when humans are sent to Mars. An airbag based landing isn't safe if there are people onboard. Itamblyn 11:38, 4 August 2007 (UTC)

Problem with the boosters is that they will likely kill any signs of life where the rover lands. also pollute any samples. The lander is going to find rocket fuel in the mass spectroscopy samples. Elie 22:19, 6 August 2007 (UTC)

There was some work done on that when the suggestion was raised WRT a previous mission. I don't have a reference to hand. 02:10, 8 August 2007 (UTC)

Things needed

We still need to add a section here about the Engineering side of the Phoenix lander. I've noted that several copies in other languages have better versions than ours, perhaps we can learn from theirs. Tuvas 19:00, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

I would also like some information about the landing site for this spacecraft. So far, I can't seem to find any information about where (specifically) this probe is scheduled to land--Maximilian77 00:17, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

It's not been decided yet; the northern plains is about as precise as I can tell so far. No specific names yet.--Planetary 06:35, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

I removed the older WikiNews box as it was causing the article presentation issues. The graphics were also modified in size to prevent whitespace issues. The old WikiNews box was

Thanks! --Mnemnoch 04:19, 5 August 2007 (UTC)

There alot of data missing, mainly engineering, for example look at Mars_Reconnaissance_Orbiter and Mars_Exploration_Rover, something needs to be done about this. --BerserkerBen 15:15, 5 August 2007 (UTC)

One year from launch!

Less then 1 year left until the Phoenix comes to Mars! It's been a while (30 years), since an immobile spacecraft has been there. I've expanded the goals section in the meantime, and look forward to adding the first photos from the martian arctic!--Planetary 21:04, 9 August 2006 (UTC)

Just noticed, that the instrument images are low resoluton for "free use" because they're NASA images. However, NASA material is public domain, our only limit on resolution is server space. I'd replace them , but I've never replaced images before, and I'd just screw up probably. I also want to make sure there are no objections, say because of spacing or layout or something.--Planetary 01:45, 9 September 2006 (UTC)

Just looked. They're already that size! :o Well, when new, larger, ones are added, they should be replaced.--Planetary 02:26, 26 September 2006 (UTC)

Amazing stuff. --Vonones 06:47, 5 August 2007 (UTC)

Why not a rover?

Does anyone know why NASA decided that Phoenix should be stationary and not a rover?

Because the site is all tundra. For miles all around. The mission is not to go forward but DOWNWARD. It's task is to dig for soil samples. Roving wouldn't accomplish anything.
I think roving would accomplish a lot, but in this case they decided the trade-off was not worth it. Phoenix is heavy with sample gathering equipment and analysis instruments. To add mobility would require even more weight, meaning either more expense or less science capability. The next scheduled Mars lander is heavy and mobile. It's also a billion dollars more expensive.

Spacecraft Infobox

I started an infobox - but more technical data is needed. --Camptown 23:25, 5 August 2007 (UTC)

Discussion of why not bring soil back to Earth

Would be nice if an expert added a paragraph on why a mission isn't crafted to grab a few kg of Martian soil with a robot shovel and bring it back to Earth. We ran the Viking soil chemistry and now this - it'd seem that the best soil analysis would be if we just brought some home. Expensive, yeah, and more dangerous with bringing a lot of rocket fuel down with the lander; but someone at NASA has presumably done the cost-benefit analysis and I think the article is sort of begging for a summary of why not, since this mission's whole point is the tiny chemistry-lab-in-a-lunchbox we're sending up there. Thanks. Tempshill 03:53, 6 August 2007 (UTC)

Ooooh, maybe this. Kyaa the Catlord 05:33, 6 August 2007 (UTC)
First off.... I don't really know what you're talking about Kyaa, so I'll disregard your comment. As for yours Tempshill, i'm thinking the idea is so preposterous that no one actually even considered it. The journey from Mars back to Earth is going to be the same as the journey from Earth to Mars in terms of distance, and that will require extra fuel. As well, you'll have to factor in even more fuel that is needed to life the craft off of Mars. All of this extra fuel is going to contribute to a heavier payload that needs to be launched, and even if it's possible, it'll be extremely heavy and pricey. All of this extra money (we're talking in billions here... actually, maybe more since no craft currently can life something so heavy a mass (a rocket in a rocket) into the orbit, let alone to Mars) for a few samples of Martian soil is just not worth it. The technologies on this craft and other's to follow are more then suffice for what research that is needed to be completed on the soil. --Steven 06:15, 6 August 2007 (UTC)
"The plot concerns a team of scientists investigating a deadly disease of extraterrestrial origin which causes rapid, fatal clotting of the blood." Add a sense of humor and you'll get it. Kyaa the Catlord 06:22, 6 August 2007 (UTC)
Mars Sample Return Mission and Phobos Grunt are planed and will get some martian stones back to earth (Sample return mission). When is the question, but it will be done. And the Andromeda Strain concernes are pointless, because the Planetary Protection guidlines of COSPAR will reglement the sample return in a harsh way.--Stone 11:30, 6 August 2007 (UTC)
Of course they're pointless, it was a joke. Kyaa the Catlord 12:29, 6 August 2007 (UTC)
But only in a certain way. The Planetary protection is no joke!--Stone 13:15, 6 August 2007 (UTC)
A sample return mission has it own page, why should we talk about it here? --BerserkerBen 12:46, 6 August 2007 (UTC)
Sorry Kyaa, I didn't read the article, my bad :) No hard feelings? Anyways, yes, now that that's cleared, I don't think it's necessary to add anything to this article about why there isn't a return trip... --Steven 21:05, 6 August 2007 (UTC)
I want to add something from my experience with this and other deep space missions. Mars sample return is considered the holy grail of Mars science. We have looked at the Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV), the rocket that carries the sample back to Earth or at least orbit, for years and JPL has studied it extensively along with industry partners other than the one I work for. It isn't that we don't want to do it, but we all know that, as a flagship class mission, Mars Sample Return (MSR) is always an average of 10 years away in the NASA budget. Of the four potential missions that made it to step 2 for that round of Mars Scouts, this lander was probably the most sure thing for the dollar given that the spacecraft was already >75% built. Even with the current Mars Scout cost cap of 475M$ true surface MSR is out of reach. As for why this lander's instruments, I can say with certainty that they are several orders of magnitude more sensitive than the ones launched with Viking. This spacecraft is also going to hit the North pole where the Mars Odyssey spacecraft has detected large amounts of hydrogen very near the surface (read water). Neither of the Viking landers went to anyplace nearly as advantageous for looking for the building blocks of life that we know, yet there was one sample that the Viking program produced that had the potential building blocks (Soil Sample #726), however there was a great deal of doubt as to whether or not the spacecraft was contaminated. There have been a lot of papers published on Mars Sample Return and Mars Ascent Vehicle that are readily available via journals. Particularly focus on those written by JPL, Lockheed-Martin and Orbital Sciences (individually and together). Firegryphon 05:41, 10 August 2007 (UTC)


I'm new to this article, but it appears that this article has been changed to reflect some vulgar content. Can someone who frequents this page revert this to a pre-vandalized state? LEX LETHAL 19:41, 6 August 2007 (UTC)

Already been done, I believe. If it hasn't, point out the problems. Keep in mind you can fix it yourself by going to the history, too. Gscshoyru 19:42, 6 August 2007 (UTC)


"Like the mythological bird, the Phoenix spacecraft contains several previously built components." Michbich 08:03, 7 August 2007 (UTC)

It's a metaphor. I heard an interview with one of the people involved in this project, and they said that, since it was constructed using previously built components (some of which belonged to the failed Mars Polar Lander mission), they decided to call it Pheonix because it had "risen from the ashes" like the pheonix of mythology. Vsst 22:37, 7 August 2007 (UTC)

Current spaceflight tag

What is the purpose of this current spaceflight tag? When people go to an article they want to see the facts in the article, not a distracting box that warns them that the content might change. Every Wikipedia article is subject to change! Why do spaceflights need this warning over any other long term event? We can see it is a current spaceflight without the warning because the article tells us this in the first paragraph of content. Remy B 07:46, 5 August 2007 (UTC)

If you feel that this template isn't needed anymore, then make a suggestion about it at WP:TFD. --Mnemnoch 08:19, 5 August 2007 (UTC)
I don't have a problem with the template being on Wikipedia, I just don't think it should be used on this article. You certainly don't have to blindly add a template to an article just because it exists. I find it very frustrating that so many editors just want to fill articles with meaningless templates just because they're available to the point that it distracts from the 'real' content of the encyclopedic prose. This "current" tag is a prime example. Shouldn't we look at the merits of adding it to the particular article rather than assuming they are a positive contribution? The immediate focus of an article, that being the first content in the article, should be the introductory prose, not some redundant warning box. Remy B 08:41, 5 August 2007 (UTC)
Remy B, what do you expect this is wikipeida home of 80% of the worlds analretentive nitpickers. But yes launch is over and the next 9-10months should be very quite, so off with the tag?--BerserkerBen 15:09, 5 August 2007 (UTC)
I'd say off with the tag. Actually I just removed it. Tempshill 03:49, 6 August 2007 (UTC)

This tag had been changed to {{Current mars lander mission}}. I changed it to {{Current spaceflight}} to match other space probes, including the Mars Exploration Rovers--Anthonares (talk) 15:58, 27 May 2008 (UTC)


Can we maybe put the pictures into a gallery? the text on this article is getting out numbered by the amount of images, which is getting crammed everywhere. My guess is, more pictures are to come in the next year or so, and we should maybe clear things up and prepare for it? --Steven 18:55, 5 August 2007 (UTC)

UPDATE I changed it already, if someone has a problem, please discuss here before we start reverting... thanks. --Steven 00:59, 6 August 2007 (UTC)
It is conceivable that the gallery will quickly need expansion so you might think of moving it to its own article.Trilobitealive (talk) 16:45, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

Landing site

It would be cool to get a link to the landing site on -Ravedave (talk) 06:47, 18 May 2008 (UTC)

This is now in place. CosineKitty (talk) 18:48, 28 May 2008 (UTC)


I heard a radio commentator mention that the landing might be webcast. I'd like to add it to the article, but I can't find a proper source for where and when. —scarecroe (talk) 16:37, 20 May 2008 (UTC)

According to [1], it will be on NASA TV, starting 6:30. IIRC, the public channel will have talking heads describing what's going on, while the media channel will just webcast the control-room look without commentary. — PyTom (talk) 17:23, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
Webcast has started on both channels now, but it is only the control-room as of yet. AndersL (talk) 22:07, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

Short term items?

Is there a correct place for short term items like upcoming press briefings? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Goatbar (talkcontribs) 18:21, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

The press briefing would be acceptable in the landing section, formated with UTC time. -MBK004 18:23, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

2 Hour template seems pointless

The two hour spacecraft template seems like a waste of space because, by the time anyone either looks at the talk or article there is a good chance that it will be either on the surface or near it and that two hour template will need to replaced with either a 1 hour or landed template Rengaw01 (talk) 22:21, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

Nasa TV

I like the programm and I am courious on the results, although MPS built the RAC I am more interested in the TEGA, for the development of the Pyr-GC-MS for ExoMars.--Stone (talk) 23:45, 25 May 2008 (UTC)


Question : Is this craft designed to look for life ? If its digging around in ice wouldn't that be one of its primary goals? - i just re-read the article ... it states it is looking for environments that could support life; are these 2 different things or not ? Boomshanka (talk) 23:54, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

Tega has the ability to detect organic molecules, but phoenix has no life detection experiment on board. If its enough it will find it, but if there are only several microbes in the soil may go unnotized.--Stone (talk)
IF life IS found, NO ONE will know about it, since those that are religious keep saying that Earth is the only place for life, anything else is to be considered demonic, as "Of The Devil", and IF it was reported that alien life IS found, all hell will break loose. That's a Fact Jack! (talk) 06:50, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

This page is not dedicated to spreading of bollox, please refer to WP:Talkpages. --Harald Khan Ճ 08:16, 29 May 2008 (UTC)


It has landed! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:58, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

Yippe! (talk) 00:01, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
Should the time it landed be quoted as an Earth time (i.e. including the delay it takes for the signal to get from Mars to Earth), or the 'actual' time it landed, i.e. about 23:38 UTC?Tompagenet (talk) 00:03, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
i.e., looking at NASA's definitions, should we be using "Earth-receive time" (ERT) rather than "spacecraft event time" (SCET)? Tompagenet (talk) 00:05, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
It should be quoted as the actual time in which it landed, which is how NASA reports these things, with a parenthetical comment on when we received the telemetry confirming it. It should also include a reliable source for that information as soon as we get it. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 00:06, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
I.e., spacecraft-event time. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 00:06, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

pictures are in, and they seem happy, so i guess it's all as planned —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:57, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

For anyone that's interested, a full image gallery can be found here: I believe that all of those images are in the public domain. EnviroboyTalkCs 03:24, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

Images of the payload

The University of Arizona has a complete set of images for the various parts of the scientific payload (MARDI, SSI, MET LIDAR, TEGA, etc.) at . I'd include a few in the article, but I'll let the public-domain nazis handle it. Rwald (talk) 05:10, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

Welcome to wikipedia! The free, multilingual, open content encyclopedia project! (talk) 15:01, 26 May 2008 (UTC)


Can we add somthink lile "Landed X days ago" as in . Satble release: 61 days ago. ?--Ilhanli (talk) 11:40, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

I have edited the infobox so that it reads "Orbital insertion date 2008-05-25; 1 day ago (atmospheric entry and landing)" and that should automatically calculate the days since landing. -84user (talk) 22:02, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

purpose of second life url?

Live Simulcast of Landing in Second Life to take place at Spectre Island Science Museum

The external links has the above link, but I cannot understand its purpose. Firefox and Opera report an unsupported protocol. Is it an attempt to persuade people to sign up for second life? Does it show anything now or was it some broadcast event that no is longer accessible? -84user (talk) 16:31, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

Hmmm. Sole edit from IP ... But it does make you wonder what "crash and burn" contingency plans the programmers might have had ready if things hadn't gone so nicely. ;) Wnt (talk) 23:05, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
I removed the Second Life live simulcast link yesterday. Even if it were appropriate for this article, it is no longer relevant. CosineKitty (talk) 14:17, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

Phoenix DVD copyright

I'm curious... does the Phoenix DVD begin its cheerful message of friendship to alien archaeologists by warning them, "No part of this work may be reproduced in any form, by electronic, photostatic, microfilm, xerography, or any other means, or incorporated into any ..." Wnt (talk) 23:54, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

A Parental Advisory should be on it! You hear frightening alians on the DVD!--Stone (talk) 06:45, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Yes, and the scale of fines for individuals and corporations had to be converted into Martian Ringits Far Canal (talk) 07:28, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Kidding aside, the works on it were copyrighted... and wouldn't it be illegal to strip such notices under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act? I bet there is such a notice... Wnt (talk) 22:57, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

Ice Wedges on Earth?

What's with the "ice wedges on Earth" picture? This picture has no relation with this article.

Its comparative to whats recently been see by the Phoenix. --Hu12 (talk) 06:19, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
I replaced the "ice wedges on Earth" picture with one I took in the Canadian High Arctic a few years back. It is much more similar to that seen by Phoenix yesterday.--Anthonares (talk) 15:08, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

UK partnership?

Imperial College London is providing silicon substrates to the microscopy wheel. There is also an investigator from the University of Bristol, listed as a science team member. However, neither NASA nor the University of Arizona are listing those universities as partners, nor listing UK as a partner country. Maybe their level of financial involvement doesn't grant them that "right". Aldo L (talk) 02:46, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

I think the situation is that Tom Pike at Imperial is a Co-investigator (and possibly the team at Bristol too?) but apart from support for his work the UK made no financial contribution to the lander. Chrislintott (talk) 09:17, 28 May 2008 (UTC)


Now that we're getting pretty pictures, I think the mission data should come first in the article, then spacecraft information, then the launch information, then the history. It was previously appropriate to have all this stuff at the top about the history, launch, and mission profile, because there wasn't anything else to see; but now the casual reader will want to know first about what the lander is seeing. I have to plead lack of time for not reorganizing it myself, sorry. Tempshill (talk) 18:00, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

While I agree a reorg is in order, I think the gallery featuring a couple of the most spectacular, or notable, pictures should be near the top for a week or so while the rest of the reorg takes place. Then in a month move the gallery further down as interest dies down. Otherwise, I think it is a great suggestion.--Hourick (talk) 18:16, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
I too think it should be reorganzized! For example, most informations currently incoming are put at the "Landing" headline. But I think there should be some own headline for this... like "Findings" or something like this... ColdCase (talk) 12:51, 28 May 2008 (UTC)


In the infobox, I wanted to change "Decay" to "Landing" or "Soft Landing", but didn't know if this would irritate the spacecraft infobox enthusiasts. Can we change it? Tempshill (talk) 18:00, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

I agree. I am not a rocket scientist either, but to me the term decay is generally used for a satellite whose orbit has gradually decayed and burned up in the atmosphere and/or crashed into the surface of what it is orbiting, not to describe a controlled landing. I am looking at the infobox template for spacecraft and I don't see anything for landing date. I made a suggestion to that effect, but I don't know much about templates or the ramifications of editing them. CosineKitty (talk) 01:27, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

Seeing things

I've been staring at this screen too long. I swear the dark patterns in upper Image:PSP 008301 2480 cut a.jpg look like "москва" something... nevermind. Really, though, what does produce these patterns? They seem to run along edges or centers of the polygons in places but it's hard to follow the correlation. Wnt (talk) 00:48, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Landing site coordinates

The appears to be the Phoenix landing site [2] - 68.7, -126. Compare to [3] -Ravedave (talk) 04:49, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Need help in the section about the Meteorological Station

I just did a bit of work in this section, but it needs more attention. I did the best I could to untangle some bloated sentences, but I am doubtful about the accuracy of some of the credits for who provided the MET, who operates it, who built parts of it, etc. In fact, my edits may have made things worse in terms of factual accuracy, but I can't tell for sure because I was confused by the text as I found it. Another problem is that one of the web citations ( redirects to a generic front page that has nothing relevant to the Phoenix mission on it. I would rather see a "citation needed" tag here than one that doesn't work, but gives the veneer of a vetted fact. CosineKitty (talk) 16:46, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

Too many successfuls?

Maybe it's just me, but when I read this article, the number of times the word successful appears makes it start to sound a bit cheerleaderish. Don't get me wrong; I am really excited by the mission and happy it is going so well. But that is my personal point of view. I wonder if this should be toned down a bit. It makes sense to describe the landing as successful, because many missions have failed during a landing attempt. But maybe some of the other successfuls can be removed. Do others feel this way too? If it's only me, I'll back off. CosineKitty (talk) 20:58, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

Because there was no feedback either way, I went ahead and followed my instincts. I have removed a few instances of what I considered overuse of the word successfully. I left it in where it was important for context, but removed it where I judged it sounded distracting or redundant. The Phoenix mission is a great achievement that speaks for itself, and I was concerned that a perceived promotional tone in this article could lessen its credibility. CosineKitty (talk) 17:17, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

Water Discovered

Water Discovered, but its too salty for life --Lemmey talk 02:40, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

Nice! thanks Lemmey--Hu12 (talk) 03:21, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

Assessment comment

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Phoenix (spacecraft)/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

The first sentence uses the word 'useless' although, in the rest of the article, I did not find further discussion of this rating. Some additional rathional might be of interest to other readers. "Phoenix is a robotic spacecraft on a useless space exploration mission . . ." Jaynedye (talk) 14:59, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

Last edited at 14:59, 27 May 2008 (UTC). Substituted at 21:54, 3 May 2016 (UTC)