Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×

One Year Until Phoenix Mars Mission Launch 116

pipcorona writes "The principal investigator of the Phoenix Mars Lander Mission released an article yesterday describing how the mission is progressing, talking about landing sites and informing the public that they are officially one year away from launch." From the article: "In parallel with the assembly of the spacecraft, our Payload Interoperability Testbed (PIT) in the Tucson Science Operations Center has been integrating engineering models of all the science instruments. Besides validating the integration procedures for the instruments, this facility will be used to verify that all our instruments work as a team-important since they were developed individually. In particular, the digging of soils and delivery of samples to instruments will be thoroughly tested."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

One Year Until Phoenix Mars Mission Launch

Comments Filter:
  • by alienmole ( 15522 ) on Friday August 04, 2006 @08:05AM (#15845811)
    Dear NASA,

    We were pleased to learn about your upcoming Phoenix mission, and look forward to this opportunity to once again secretly study your technology from our invisible bunkers on the Martian surface. (Whatever you do, don't try to dig below 500m, retaliation will be swift and final.)

    On your journey, please keep in mind that Mars uses the metric system. Any space probes detected using "Imperial" units (whose very name are an affront to the Martian Emperor, may he live forever) will be silently deflected by the planetary protection shields.

    Yours truly,
    Mars Department of Blue Planet Studies and Relations

    P.S. Regarding any rumors you may have heard about invasion, don't worry, the chances of anything coming from here are a million to one...
  • I fear something terrible may have befallen K'Breel, or his gellsacs...
  • by GMontag ( 42283 ) <gmontagNO@SPAMguymontag.com> on Friday August 04, 2006 @08:22AM (#15845901) Homepage Journal
    Oh come on, some of us know that the Martians are just going to shoot this one down too.
  • by GapingHeadwound ( 985265 ) on Friday August 04, 2006 @08:24AM (#15845906)

    for Dan Quayle.

    "Mars is essentially in the same orbit...Mars is somewhat the same distance from the Sun, which is very important. We have seen pictures where there are canals, we believe, and water. If there is water, that means there is oxygen. If oxygen, that means we can breathe."
    - Vice President Dan Quayle [wikiquote.org], Hawaii, 8/11/89 (interview broadcast on CNN, referenced in 9/1/89 Washington Post article: "A Quayle Vision of Mars")

    Phoenixes... quayles... same difference.

  • Name change (Score:5, Funny)

    by LMacG ( 118321 ) on Friday August 04, 2006 @08:25AM (#15845912) Journal
    Because of trademark issues with the BIOS manufacturer Phoenix Technologies [wikipedia.org], the mission name has been changed to Firebird. There are rumors that it may change again before launch.
    • ...the mission name has been changed to Firebird.

      Which will get them in trouble with Pontiac, not to mention Knight Rider fans. Mission Commander David Hasselhoff anyone?

      • Mission Commander David Hasselhoff anyone?


        No problem ... as long as he leads the mission from the capsule. ... oh? does the mission not include one? Eh. I'm sure he can improvise something to act as a heat-shield. :)
  • by N3wsByt3 ( 758224 ) on Friday August 04, 2006 @08:30AM (#15845933) Journal
    We all heard the reasoning for abolishing space-exploration (particulary human-based) before, and I think the major flaw in all these 'arguments' why we shouldn't go into space is that they always set economic factors as a premise.

    But, although economic viability is important to create a mass-usuage of space(travel), I fail to see why it should be the only possible motive to start exploring space. It's a pretty narrowminded, materialistic and typical capitalistic view on things. It's the same view that makes progress on medication for very rare diseases, or for diseases that are prevalent in continents that are poor, so slow: corporations can't see how they are ever going to get profit out of it, so they all turn their backs on it.

    If ppl (including states) are only going to do something when they are sure of an immediate profitable return, the world has become a sad place. (And we should leave it the sooner ;-)

    Arguments based on such a viewpoint fail to recognise other incentives apart from economical ones.

    And the reason why we shouldn't (only) rely on robots? You can explore, but you can not colonise with robots. The will to explore is deeply entrenched in the human race, but with a reason: it has survival advantages.

    A species that doesn't colonise new territory and adapt, will perish. I think it's paramount that humans always keep their adventurage spirit and keep exploring and expanding, because the moment we will go "ah, let's sit back in our sofa's and let our robots/droids do it", we're basically finished, even when not being aware of it at that moment.

    So, to to all the people saying we don't *need* space-exploration (human or otherwise); we don't *need* the pyramids neither, nor all those great buildings and artworks, nor any luxery, etc.

    The only thing we 'need' is food and shelter.

    Based on what we truelly 'need' thus, we should go back living like cavemen.

    But ofcourse, we don't, and the reason is that we, as humans, look beyond our immediate needs and have (and should have) grander visions.

    What you say is what I already indicated: economics (and also the ratio of costs/science output) is less good with human spacetravel then robotic ones. Contrary to some zealots, I do not dispute that.

    But, as I have said, I do not think one should measure everything in terms of economic benefits. Even if you could send a hundred, or a thousand robots for the price of one human mission, it still would not change the fact that robots can't colonise planets, and augment the survival chances of the human race (and earths' ecology) through interplanetary spreading.
    • by liak12345 ( 967676 ) on Friday August 04, 2006 @08:58AM (#15846086)
      You don't even need to go that far. What is the main benefit we get out of exploring space? Research. Plain and simple. I can't even imagine how far and wide space research has influenced technology today. Better understanding of flight mechanics and materials have improved the aerospace industry. The need to ensure the safety of astronauts has lead to new technology trickling down into the medical industry. New manufacturing processes. New scientific instruments. Velcro. TANG! Even if we learn absolutely nothing directly from this mission there is always going to be derivative technology from what we had to develop to get there. The benefits of research are innumerable.
      • You don't even need to go that far. What is the main benefit we get out of exploring space? Research. Plain and simple. I can't even imagine how far and wide space research has influenced technology today.

        Of course you can't imagine it. Because it hasn't happened. Contrary to popular belief and decades of NASA propoganda - the technology transfer from space to other fields has been essentially nil.
         
         
        Better understanding of flight mechanics and materials have improved the aerospace industry.

        Historically various providers of space rated components have been conservative in the extreme - they tend to use and reuse the same materials again and again. Partly because it's expensive and difficult to qualify new materials, partly because the costs of a mistake are so high. Overall, they (the space industry) wait until a new material has been thoroughly proven in another application before trying it themselves. (Kapton for example has been used for insulation (both electrical and thermal) since the mid 60's.)
         
         
        The need to ensure the safety of astronauts has lead to new technology trickling down into the medical industry.

        Not really. Medical monitoring systems at use in a typical hospital are better than that used by the astronauts by orders of magnitude or more. The systems used by the medical industry are a seperate (and much more advanced) evolutionary path.
         
        New manufacturing processes.

        And generally ones not needed elsewhere because spacecraft need combinations of lightness, strength, and extreme enviroments not found anywhere else.
         
         
        Velcro. TANG!

        Both developed prior to and seperate from the space program.
         
        Even if we learn absolutely nothing directly from this mission there is always going to be derivative technology from what we had to develop to get there.

        Based on history to date - no, there won't be.
    • You have never met any serious Greenpeacy treehuggers, have you?
    • is a spel cheker. Wea kan aford it, sinse we didn't waste mony on colege.

      (Beware the grammar ninja)
      • LOL

        That, or I'm not native english, and the spellcheckers I have are in my own language. ;-)

        It's sometimes funny how people automatically assume everyone should speak/write perfect english, while they would fare far worse, if the international language was something else then their native tongue. And sometimes, it is annoying for non-english speaking people on Slashdot (and anywhere else) to always get those remarks, especially knowing full well *they* often can speak/write hardly any other language at all.
        • You make some good points, but think of the grammar corrections as a further opportunity to improve your mastery of a foreign language. Too many people on /. get very defensive and start ranting about "grammar nazis" when someone corrects their mistakes. I don't get upset when someone corrects my Spanish or Italian (or my English either).
          • "You make some good points, but think of the grammar corrections as a further opportunity to improve your mastery of a foreign language. Too many people on /. get very defensive and start ranting about "grammar nazis" when someone corrects their mistakes. I don't get upset when someone corrects my Spanish or Italian (or my English either)."

            I'm not getting upset, ,I'm getting mildly annoyed. ;-)

            My title 'grammar nazism' was meant to be ironic, since, indeed, this is often used to describe it and the poster h
            • Focussing on spelling and grammar, while obviously the person in question wants to debate the content of what he said, is pretty weak. If it's done in a manner which isn't anything but denigrading, it's even far worse.

              Welcome to /. You must be new here.

              • hehe, nope. :-)

                I probably was here before you, even though I lost my first login/pasword under 'newsbyte'.

                I know it's often done around here, that's why I don't get upset anymore, only mildly annoyed. The fact that it often happens doesn't it make it less lame, however.

                One consolation I have, is that often the more thoughtful posters DO focus on the content rather than the form, so I'm usually not missing much when I ignore an arrogant 'spelling nazi'. ;-)
        • Remember, barring truly attrocious spelling/grammer, where the actual content is no longer understandable, correcting a previous posters spelling/grammer is standard internet practice for complete agreement. In essence it translates to:

          "I really don't want to agree with what you said, but given that your point was so well thought out and obviously true, I must find SOMETHING that is incorrect. Given that your post was 100% correct in content, I will change the subject and criticize your spelling or gramme
          • It's grammar, not grammer. Unless you're talking about Kelsey [imdb.com].
          • Indeed.

            I noticed this too, and it's (mis)used rather frequently on forums. I never feel inclined to do the same, however, but that's just me (or, as I said, maybe a cultural difference): if you can't debate something with arguments, then one better leave it as it is. Let alone focussing on spelling-mistakes. That is so...lame.

            Another poster argumented it should be seen as a helpful hand, an oportunity to improve, etc.... but heck, that's rather naive: I can't remember one case where I've seen a person meing
    • We all heard the reasoning for abolishing space-exploration (particulary human-based) before, and I think the major flaw in all these 'arguments' why we shouldn't go into space is that they always set economic factors as a premise.

      Some opponents of human space exploration set science as the major interest, and go on to say that much more science can be done by robots, costs being equal.

      Anyway, many (most?) people agree that one should not necessarily limit oneself to economically viable things, and th

      • by N3wsByt3 ( 758224 ) on Friday August 04, 2006 @10:31AM (#15846740) Journal
        "Some opponents of human space exploration set science as the major interest, and go on to say that much more science can be done by robots, *costs being equal*."

        And thus, it IS a matter of economics, because no one is seriously going to claim humans are less versatile and able to do in situ research then whatever robot we can create these days, if costs do not matter. Robots do not do a better job then humans; they only do a better job per buck that is being put in (exept for human-biological spaceresearch, of course). With this I agree, as I said.

        The argument about 'let's do it when it becomes affordable' is, indeed, also very much heard, but I think this is a bit of false argument. I mean by that, that it can be used all of the time, for everything. For instance, let's imagine in a hundred years technology has become so cheap one can send humans to Mars for a tenth of the price of today. Well, then, if technology has become so cheap, it has become equally cheap for robotic missions, so it STILL will be 1000 times cheaper to send probes and robots then humans. and this will *always* be true: it will always be far more expensive to send humans then robots, nomatter how cheap things get. So, one no distinction for a treshold with this argument since the relative price-difference will always exist, and thus, it becomes rather arbitrary to decide what costs are worth it. I think it's worth the costs now, you may think it's not, but purely base on this 'argument' one can never reach a logical consensus, since the argument merely boils down to an opinion.

        Thus, I leave that economic argument for what it is, and, as said earlier, I argue from other reasons beside the purely economical.

        "After all, Columbus would not have been granted all the funding necessary for a huge research effort into creating shipbuilding technology; he was given a couple of standard-technology ships. "

        Yes, but if they had made that huge research effort&funding, instead of 'waiting' for standard, more affordable ships (in analogy with what you claim), they could have discovered America 100 years sooner! ;-)

        "Now, add to the mix that the massive investment of NASA credits into making expensive launchers is an economic deterrent for the development of cheaper launchers, and you can well conclude that supporting space exploration implies opposing existing space agencies... ;-)"

        Well, let's be honest; if it had been up to NASA, the spaceshuttle would never have been made in the first place. That expensive piece of 'launchvehicle' was the result of political compromise. And I'm not counter-arguing that politicians often squander huge amounts of money. ;-) But, at the end, I think it's necessary to go ahead with human exploration, and that is so expensive that, aside from space-tourism, the real 'exploration' can only be done by space-agencies. I mean, no company is ever going to waste money for mere exploration; they only will do anything, if they can see a profit (which is what companies do). Thus, *they* only see the economic incentive; something we both seem to agree should not be the case. It's not logical to leave everything up to them, then.

        And, as said, if you argument that not only companies (or the economic viewpoint) should matter, then we're back at the starting point: it will always be cheaper to send probes than to send humans, and thus, always that much more science can be done by robots, costs being equal.

        • The argument about 'let's do it when it becomes affordable' is, indeed, also very much heard, but I think this is a bit of false argument.

          It is false because it will never become affordable until the early adopters (NASA) work out all the kinks. The process of making it affordable means that we have to spend a lot of money up front to develop the technology to the point where it can be reliably mass produced.

        • I realize I mixed up arguments that should have remained separate, which led me to some poor reasoning. As you and another poster note, the "let's do it when it becomes affordable" argument is a false argument. However, I am in a "let's focus on making it affordable so we can do more of it" mindset.

          What I should have said is this. First, if the taxpayers are prepared to set aside a fixed amount of money for spaceflight, then you have to take the economic point of view in order to make the most of what

          • You make some very good points. I'll try to respond in kind.

            "What I should have said is this. First, if the taxpayers are prepared to set aside a fixed amount of money for spaceflight, then you have to take the economic point of view in order to make the most of what you have; the "we should do it anyway" attitude comes down to convincing the government to increase the budget, which is separate from the best way of using it."

            Well, yes, but note that you already use a premise about what 'the best way of usin
            • Well, it's refreshing to have a debate with real arguments, for a change, thanks... Even though I suspect we already agree on quite a few points. :-)

              the "we should do it anyway" attitude comes down to convincing the government to increase the budget, which is separate from the best way of using it."

              Well, yes, but note that you already use a premise about what 'the best way of using it' is.

              I assumed that "the best way" was to make the most of a given budget, to do as much of "the stated goal" as p

              • "Well, it's refreshing to have a debate with real arguments, for a change, thanks... Even though I suspect we already agree on quite a few points. :-)"

                I think so too.

                "I assumed that "the best way" was to make the most of a given budget, to do as much of "the stated goal" as possible."

                Yes, I can agree to that...but it still remains a bit of a self-fulfilling definition. Even 'the most of a given budget' doesn't really explain anything more, since 'most' can be interpreted in different ways. For instance, say
          • Forgot to answer your 'antartica' analogy. ;-)

            "I'm not sure about that. Is it now cheaper to send a person or a robot to do some work in Antarctica? After all, an autonomous robot has to be very sophisticated; it may well become cheaper to send a man, including his life support equipment, than to build and test a robot on the complexity level e.g. of the current Mars rovers."

            I doubt this is true, and your analogy seems a bit far fetched. The extra costs of getting (and maintaining) a human in space is large
    • "A species that doesn't colonise new territory and adapt, will perish"
      Bottom line here is like all things in the universe,.. this planet will eventually die. Humans have to look to technology to get us off this rock. Keep your religion (humans seem to need it) but push technology as fast as possible also.

      • "Keep your religion (humans seem to need it)"

        That's the only part I don't agree with in your post. ;-)

        Atheists and agnostici don't seem to need it, and they are humans too! :-)

        • Atheists & Agnostic -a small percentage of the tribal human species. Faith is a flaw in the human mind if you were to ask me ;) Excepting that we humans hold our final outcome is damn scary for most of the world. -BuTT lets say religion or better.. organized religion were never to have existed. Think how far ahead we would be now as a species.
          Yet peoples faith can not be put aside, there mind is stuck in an infinite loop with no way out.

          I have come to the understanding that we are floating
          • "Atheists & Agnostic -a small percentage of the tribal human species."

            You've clearly not been to Europe the last 50 years ;-)

            (Well, ok, not counting the new EU members)

            "Only the strong survive."

            Actually, it's the ones that adapt best to their environement. But I mostly agree with the general tenure of your posts.

    • I turn to the inspirational science fiction that brings out the concepts of post-humanism.

      You have the neo-philus human, who embraces change and looks to the future.

      And you have the neo-phobus human, who fears change, and looks back to comfort or tradition as the answer against change.

      Remember, most economic markets rely on a lack of change to prop them up. When volatility or change is introduced, heads roll by the hundreds. Beyond "growth", markets crave routine and predictable paths. That's why the na
    • Well - the biggest reason is;
      I'm an aerospace engineer. I need the work.
  • by SIInudeity ( 822415 ) on Friday August 04, 2006 @08:32AM (#15845945)
    Reporter to director of NASA: "Do you think that the launch will proceed on schedule?" Director of NASA: "No. God no."
  • Someone warn the Ice Warriors, [bbc.co.uk] giant nostalgia robots, [imdb.com] Selenites, [wikipedia.org] fey yet lovable ant things, [angelfire.com] bungling green men with swimming caps, [archive.org] Servants of the Dark Lord Xenu, [waroftheworldsfilm.com] and all the rest that we'll be coming by for dinner.
  • by amightywind ( 691887 ) on Friday August 04, 2006 @08:46AM (#15846019) Journal

    Why in the heck would we be launching a stationary lander when the Spirit and Opportunity have been roving the surface for over 2 years? Think of how crudy the rover missions would have been if they were stuck in one spot. We would have seen the inside of 1 ten foot crater and a rubble monoscape. Instead the rovers have climbed mountains, traversed huge craters, found exotic sedimentary deposits, and produced amazing panoramas. Mobility is invaluable. What are NASA planners thinking?

    • by celticryan ( 887773 ) on Friday August 04, 2006 @09:20AM (#15846195)
      From the overview page of the Phoenix Mars Mission:

      The Phoenix Mars Mission, scheduled for launch in August 2007, is the first in NASA's "Scout Program." Scouts are designed to be highly innovative and relatively low-cost complements to major missions being planned as part of the agency's Mars Exploration Program. Phoenix is specifically designed to measure volatiles (especially water) and complex organic molecules in the arctic plains of Mars, where the Mars Odyssey orbiter has discovered evidence of ice-rich soil very near the surface.

      The idea is to have a lower cost mission. Congress is constantly not giving NASA a budget that can support the kind of vision both Scientists and Engineers want from the agency. In addition, the types of experiments that Phoenix is doing only needs a good landing pad. The idea isn't to go and run around the whole polar region and identify every square foot of rock and soil. The purpose is to find a region on the edge of the polar cap that is representative of the average region and test there. If they had an unlimited budget, I am sure the lead scientist and engineer would love to make the project mobile and maybe do this test a multiple sites. This is not the reality of a scientific agency that is constrained by the whims of a fickle public and an overly bureaucratic government.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        What the heck are you talking about?

        How much does it cost does to copy the current rovers in use now? Nasa is such a lost cause right now. Anytime they say anything, it is "we dont have enough money". Well, then why dont you just take the plans you used successfully a couple of years ago, exchange out some modules, and they walla.. Your new rover. In addition, why dont they try outsource it for a change? They are acting like a bunch of children...
        • NASA does outsource everything. NASA for the most part is a management organization. Most of the engineering is done by contractors. And, because of the unique constraints of spacecraft (mainly, the necessity to get as much effectiveness out of every gram of mass as is possible), they are by necessity one-off designs. An adaptable design is one that cuts out optimizations in order to provide genericity. Spacecraft right now are the equivalent of hand-coded assembly... they don't do much, but they're very go
        • How much does it cost does to copy the current rovers in use now? Nasa is such a lost cause right now. Anytime they say anything, it is "we dont have enough money". Well, then why dont you just take the plans you used successfully a couple of years ago, exchange out some modules, and they walla.. Your new rover. In addition, why dont they try outsource it for a change? They are acting like a bunch of children...

          Sounds like you have all the answers. Maybe you should write a proposal and see if you can

        • The rovers, with their small parachute and airbag landing system, only work in very narrow range of Martian lattitudes, where the atmopshere is the thickest. In fact, data from Spirit and Opportunity indicate they almost landed too hard. These vehicles simply cannot be sent to the polar regions; they would crash.

          Why not send a rover to the poles? Well, you could, but it would have to be a smaller one, with a different design. Other factors such as solar input and temperature are also quite different. B
        • Nasa is such a lost cause right now. Anytime they say anything, it is "we dont have enough money".

          And a huge chunk of NASA's budget is spent on pork bullshit [usatoday.com]. They don't have the fucking money, period. And if you believe the "moon then mars" crap our president spewed recently then you are a complete fucktard. Wait for your hydrogen powered flying car and we'll talk...

      • The idea is to have a lower cost mission.

        What a load of crap. The marginal cost of duplicating the rovers, perhaps many time, and even adding soil sampling experiments, has to be less than a new dedicated mission. The problem is NASA planetary operations are far too mission focused. It has always been like that. It is like that to this day. There are few common spacecraft buses and subsystems. With the increasing frequency of Mars missions there needs to be much more technical continuity.

      • The bulk of the cost is not the ship, but the launch. NASA would be better off trying to figure out how to lower the cost of launchs and then using the extra $ to enhance the capabilities. One thing that I would love to see them do, is skip the stationary and mobile system and go to a floating system, perhaps a ballon.
    • Why in the heck would we be launching a stationary lander when the Spirit and Opportunity have been roving the surface for over 2 years?

      Because they don't have the money for sending new rovers, but they do have enough to launch the old spare of the one that crashed on Mars last decade due to insufficient testing.

    • Digging for ice (Score:3, Interesting)

      by alienmole ( 15522 )
      From TFA:

      Briefly, our mission is to land in the northern polar region of Mars (about 70 N latitude) in May 2008 and to expose the upper few feet of surface material using a robotic arm to find the ice that was discovered by the Odyssey mission in 2002. The history of this ice and its interaction with the martian atmosphere will be studied throughout the 3-month primary mission. This ice-rich soil may be one of the few habitable environments on Mars where a biological system can survive.

    • Why in the heck would we be launching a stationary lander when the Spirit and Opportunity have been roving the surface for over 2 years?

      For the same reason earthbound geologists will sometimes spend weeks or months camped in a single spot examining a small area or a single feature intensively. Taking random samples from the surface only tells you so much - sometimes you need to study whats *beneath* the surface. After you've done a broad area search - it's time to start looking at the details.

      S

      • For the same reason earthbound geologists will sometimes spend weeks or months camped in a single spot examining a small area or a single feature intensively. Taking random samples from the surface only tells you so much - sometimes you need to study whats *beneath* the surface. After you've done a broad area search - it's time to start looking at the details.

        You are surely talking out of your ass. It would be easy and cheap to equip a rover with a drill or trenching tool and get the benefit of both. Also

        • Fine, you come up with a cheap design to add on to a rover that will

          • Cut the cost from about $400 million per rover to $250 for Scout missions
          • Dig into the surface and transport batches of samples to the oven
          • Spectrally analyze samples, heat them, and spectrally analyze the emissions
          • Not increase the mass of the landing system
          • Be able to land at the poles instead of the equator with the same launch package
          • Operate on a fraction of the solar input available to the rovers at the equator.
          • * Cut the cost from about $400 million per rover to $250 for Scout missions

            Duplication should achieve significant cost savings

            Dig into the surface and transport batches of samples to the oven

            Spectrally analyze samples, heat them, and spectrally analyze the emissions

            Small, inexpensive instrumentation features that any mission would have to implement

            Not increase the mass of the landing system

            Same as first.

            Be able to land at the poles instead of the equator with the same launch package

            Irrelevant

        • For the same reason earthbound geologists will sometimes spend weeks or months camped in a single spot examining a small area or a single feature intensively. Taking random samples from the surface only tells you so much - sometimes you need to study whats *beneath* the surface. After you've done a broad area search - it's time to start looking at the details.

          You are surely talking out of your ass.

          Nope. I'm not.

          It would be easy and cheap to equip a rover with a drill or trenching too

    • NASA was generally planning to send some sort of Mars mission every 26-month optimum energy launch window. However planning and building a mission takes 3-4 of these cycles. So the lessons of current mission were too late to seriously affect a 2007 mission.
  • Yet another sissy little rover to jingle jongle happily around, collecting rocks and puffing at the effort of trying to climb over its own airbags. Isn't it time we sent something SERIOUS? (Like, say, all the lawyers, market researchers and PR specialists). Long live Douglas Adams, may he rest in (42) pieces. (and on a completely different note - Every time I hear about yet another mission to Mars - I get reminded of this picture I saw after they sent the first "Rover" - You can see it standing in front
  • Tucson, eh? (Score:3, Informative)

    by r00t ( 33219 ) on Friday August 04, 2006 @08:53AM (#15846059) Journal
    NASA does something in every state, if not every congressional district.

    (see also: Joint Strike Fighter, and -- lest the Europeans gloat -- anything made by Airbus)
    • by Anonymous Coward

      They got these university things [arizona.edu] all over the place. Turns out this Tuscon place has one of the best optical sciences [arizona.edu] groups in the world, the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory [arizona.edu] who have built instruments for interplanetary spacecraft, and a lot of space industry is based there.

      I can see what you mean. It does sound just like a bunch of pork spread around undeservedly.

  • Must be some hubris over there to name a mission Phoenix. Sure, people will say it's a hoax, but to openly state it? That's guts.

    What? But... but... You mean "Phoenix" *isn't* pronounced "foe-knee"? Look at the first part, "Phoe". You pronounce "hoe" with a long 'O' sound, so logically, this would be "foe". Then there's the ending, "ix". There aren't many 'ix' words, but everyone remembers "prix" (as in racing), which is pronounced "pree". So, logically, "Phoenix" should be pronounced "foe-knee", ri
  • by Nuffsaid ( 855987 ) on Friday August 04, 2006 @09:39AM (#15846362)
    "Phoenix", eh? They probably hope that it will rise from the ashes after atmospheric entry...
  • Not a reassuring name for the astronauts riding atop tens of thousands of pounds of rocket fuel.

    (dictionary.com)
    Phoenex: A bird in Egyptian mythology that lived in the desert for 500 years and then consumed itself by fire, later to rise renewed from its ashes.

    But perhaps that last part suggests we could clone the astronauts back if there were a mishap.. ?
  • Think of the universe as a larger being, with the planets being small protons and nutrons, and the sun being the nuclei. We are just a microscopic part of this being.. Each planet has a distinct reason for being, as with each cell and neuron in everything that we percieve as being alive. If you actually think about this theory, It probably one of the most logical. When you look deeply at something what do you see, little atoms, with small protons and nutrons circling around a nucleus. If you were to swap o
    • The problem with your theory is that there's no evidence of large-scale objects in the universe, like planets, stars, nebulae and galaxies, behaving according to any kind of intelligence. Their behavior is determined by relatively simple (pun intended) physical laws, such as the laws of gravity. If the universe is a superbeing, it's a pretty predictable and uninteresting one. If you were a microscopic creature inside our bodies, you'd see all sorts of activity that you couldn't explain with simple laws.
  • Looking at the logo, it should be called the Firefox Mars Lander.

On a clear disk you can seek forever.

Working...