Launched in August 2007, the Phoenix Lander is scheduled to land on the red planet on May 25, 2008.
Reborn from the ashes, like its namesake mythical creature, of the Mars Surveyor 2001 Lander (mothballed earlier this decade) and the failed Mars Polar Lander of 1999, the Phoenix Lander is set to study the "history of water and the habitability potential in the Martian arctics ice-rich soil."
The problems faced by the Lander as it approaches Mars at a speed of 12,500 mph and after Seven Minutes of Terror has hopefully safely landed on the Martian surface are documented in the video at Space dot com.
As it takes ten minutes for signals to reach Earth from Mars ...and the whole landing sequence will be over in seven minutes . . .well, let us say there is not a lifeline back to Mother Earth.
Excellently produced and very informative, the video is well worth the five minutes spent watching and thinking.
For some reason, I am seriously geeked by this whole mission and the idea of finding water and perhaps the possibility of past life on Mars. I feel ten years old again and living, once again, at the crest of mankind reaching for the stars.