Phoenix Mars Mission: Ashes To Ice
The Phoenix Mars Mission, the latest attempt to land on the Red Planet, is designed to study the history of water and search for complex organic molecules in the ice-rich soil of the Martian arctic. The program follows the mission's meticulous preparations and culminates with its dramatic pre-dawn launch from Cape Canaveral, FL, in August 2007. The scientific mission is led by principal investigator Peter H. Smith of the University of Arizona in partnership with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Lockheed Martin Space Systems, the Canadian Space Agency and other organizations from around the world. It features interviews with Smith and other key scientists who speak about the spacecraft's instruments and the intricate preparations that preceded the launch. The $420 million mission is headquartered at the University of Arizona -- the first time in NASA's history that it has permitted a public university to have such off-site control of a Mars program.