Posted by: Jim | June 2, 2008

Another Landmark in Human Achievement


This is a first: we’ve photographed a human craft landing on another planet. After all of our petty political squabblings are done, and if we’re still alive, achievements like this are the ones that will matter. Anyone who disagrees can bite me!

Here’s the accompanying text from “Astronomy Picture of the Day” site:

Explanation: In this sweeping view, the 10 kilometer-wide crater Heimdall lies on the north polar plains of Mars. But the bright spot highlighted in the inset is the Phoenix lander parachuting toward the surface. The amazing picture was captured on May 25th by the HiRISE camera onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Though the lander looks like it might be dropping straight into Heimdall, it is really descending about 20 kilometers in front of the crater, in the foreground of the scene. The orbiter was 760 kilometers away from Phoenix when picture was taken, at an altitude of 310 kilometers. Subsequently the orbiter’s camera was also able to image the lander on the surface. The parachute attached to the backshell and the heat shield were identified in the image, scattered nearby. Of course, the Phoenix lander itself is now returning much closer views of its landing site as it prepares to dig into the Martian surface.

And for an even more amazing video of how this lander landed, watch this.


  1. Absolutely stunning. Makes me so proud to work for JPL!


  2. Very cool stuff – thanks for the diversion, Jimmy!

  3. If there is oil there, please contact me at:

  4. Rumor has it they’re naming that crater the Official George W Bush Administration Hole. The W-A-Hole for short. Oh wait a minute; my bad. I’m confusing it with a similar one on Uranus.

    Or maybe it was Iraq.

    * * *

  5. Just one thing wrong with the Mars Lander – Bush and Cheney were not strapped to it at launch.

  6. Just one thing wrong with the Mars Lander – Bush and Cheney were not strapped to it at launch.

    Oh bugger. I knew I shoulda talked to the Phoenix people before launch.

    Unfortunately, the folks I know on various projects don’t have anything going up for at least four years. I don’t want to wait that long!

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