Just a few minutes ago, the Phoenix Mars Lander tweeted*:
Are you ready to celebrate? Well, get ready: We have ICE!!!!! Yes, ICE, *WATER ICE* on Mars! w00t!!! Best day ever!!
No details yet but that’s certainly exciting news.
Update (twenty minutes later): We have details!
* Well, actually the tweets come from its human caretakers.
That little dot is us. Earth as seen from Mars, photographed by the Mars Rover Spirit four years ago.
And this is the Earth and Moon as seen from Mars, taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter about 9 months ago.
If you’re not following the Phoenix Rover’s tweets from Mars (by way of Pasadena, California), you’re missing some great stuff from millions of miles away.
The Phoenix Mars lander is scraping up the surface of the planet.
That’s at least as much grass as I have in my backyard. :-)
According to the caption, this picture was taken with the Phoenix Mars Lander’s robotic arm and shows the underside of the vehicle.
This view from the north side of the lander toward the southern leg shows smooth surfaces cleared from overlying soil by the rocket exhaust during landing. One exposed edge of the underlying material was seen in Sol 4 images, but the newer image reveals a greater extent of it. The abundance of excavated smooth and level surfaces adds evidence to a hypothesis that the underlying material is an ice table covered by a thin blanket of soil.
Ice? It looks like home plate to me. :-)
Sorry for all the posts about the Phoenix mission. I just find the whole thing fascinating.
It’s certainly more interesting than whatever it is the talking heads channels think I should be paying attention to.
How cool is this! The Phoenix Mars Lander is Twittering!
Of course, it’s not a direct connection from the northern hemisphere of Mars to your Twitter client.
The tweets are actually written by a person working at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. But she/it is answering questions from twitterers!
And while it may not be quite like Rover phoning home, it’s still terrific that the Phoenix team is using this channel as one more way to communicate with the world about their project.
You can find the Lander’s feed at twitter.com/MarsPhoenix.