Mission Information
MISSION_START_DATE 2008-05-25T12:00:00.000Z
MISSION_STOP_DATE 2008-11-02T12:00:00.000Z
Mission Overview
    The Phoenix Mission was the first Scout class mission. It consisted of a
    single lander with associated instrumentation. Phoenix was launched on
    August 4, 2007 and landed on the northern plains of Mars (68.22 degrees
    N, 234.25 degrees East Areocentric) on May 25, 2008. The Lander
    operated until November 2, 2008, performing on the Martian surface for
    152 sols (sols are Martian days, 1 sol equaling 24.66 hours). The
    Phoenix Mission was divided into seven phases: Development, Launch,
    Cruise, Approach, Entry Descent and Landing (EDL), Characterization, and
    Surface Phase. The Surface Phase constituted the primary and extended
    missions, and focused on testing the hypothesis that water ice exists
    beneath a thin soil cover, evaluating evidence for habitability zones,
    and monitoring weather during the northern summer. Hence, inferring the
    presence of water and its interaction with the Martian soil was of
    crucial importance [SMITHETAL2008].

  Mission phases
      The Development Phase began with the start of mission funding on January
      15, 2003. During  this phase, the science and technology requirements
      were developed and analyzed, hardware was  constructed and tested, and
      the spacecraft trajectory and mission operations were determined. The
      phase was concluded on August 3, 2007 [SMITHETAL2008].

      Spacecraft Id : PHX
      Target Name : MARS
      Mission Phase Start Time : 2003-01-15
      Mission Phase Stop Time : 2007-08-03
      Spacecraft Operations Type : LANDER

      The Phoenix Launch Phase began at the final countdown through
      spacecraft separation from the upper stage. Phoenix was launched on
      August 4, 2007, at 926 UTC (526 EDT) from launch complex 17A at Cape
      Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. The boost portion of the launch
      vehicle trajectory took approximately 10 minutes, and was followed by
      a short coast phase in a parking orbit for approximately 15 minutes.
      After third stage burnout, the upper stage despun the stack using a
      yo-yo despin system. Separation of the third stage occurred
      approximately 36 minutes after launch [SMITHETAL2008].

      Spacecraft Id : PHX
      Target Name : MARS
      Mission Phase Start Time : 2007-08-04
      Mission Phase Stop Time : 2007-08-04
      Spacecraft Operations Type : LANDER

      The Phoenix Cruise phase began soon after separation from the third
      stage on August 4, 2007, and ended 60 days before entry into the Mars
      atmosphere, on March 26, 2008. The duration of the cruise phase for
      Phoenix was approximately 236 days. During this phase, Phoenix
      performed a number of major activities, including checkout and
      maintenance of the spacecraft in its flight configuration, the
      monitoring characterization and calibration of the spacecraft and
      payload systems, software parameter updates, attitude correction
      turns, navigation activities for determining and correcting the
      vehicle's flight path, and preparation for EDL and surface operations,
      including EDL X-band communication tests. No science investigations
      were conducted during the cruise phase, excepting instrument health
      checkouts [SMITHETAL2008].

      Spacecraft Id : PHX
      Target Name : MARS
      Mission Phase Start Time : 2007-08-04
      Mission Phase Stop Time : 2008-03-26
      Spacecraft Operations Type : LANDER

      The Approach Phase began on March 26, 2008, 60 days before entry into
      the Martian atmosphere. This phase was dedicated to the activities
      necessary to ensure a successful EDL for the spacecraft, which
      included: acquisition and processing of navigation data to support
      development of the final trajectory correction maneuvers, and
      activities leading up to the final turn to the entry attitude and
      separation from the cruise stage seven minutes before entry. The
      Approach Phase ended at the atmospheric entry interface point 125 km
      from the surface of Mars, on May 25, 2008  [SMITHETAL2008].

      Spacecraft Id : PHX
      Target Name : MARS
      Mission Phase Start Time : 2008-03-26
      Mission Phase Stop Time : 2008-05-25
      Spacecraft Operations Type : LANDER

    Entry, Descent, and Landing
      The EDL phase began immediately following entry into the Martian
      atmosphere on May 25, 2008, and lasted seven minutes from entry to
      touchdown. This phase was broken into hypersonic, parachute, and
      terminal descent subphases, all of which required the spacecraft to be
      in a different configuration. Terminal descent on Phoenix was
      accomplished using a pulsed propulsion system, based on the Mars
      Polar Lander (MPL).

      Communications throughout the EDL phase - spanning cruise stage
      separation through landing plus one minute - were accomplished via
      UHF relay between Phoenix and the orbiters Mars Odyssey (ODY), Mars
      Express (MEX), and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). All X-band
      capability was lost once the cruise stage was jettisoned. During most
      of EDL, Phoenix used a UHF antenna that wrapped around the backshell
      to give the Lander a wide field of view (FOV) for communications,
      which provided the wide spread of off-boresight angles necessitated
      by the geometry between Phoenix and  the orbiters. During terminal
      descent (approximately 30 seconds before landing), the Lander switched
      to the landed Helix antenna and continued transmitting a UHF signal
      until one minute after landing.

      After waiting 20 minutes after touchdown for the dust to settle,
      Phoenix began performing a number of critical activities. These 'sol
      0' activities included deployments of the landed solar arrays, the
      bio-barrier covering the RA, and the SSI and MET masts. The Stereo
      Surface Imager (SSI) took images of the bio-barrier, solar arrays,
      and part of the footpad and workspace. High priority EDL and sol 0
      data were saved to flash memory within the first hour after touchdown,
      after which the Lander went to sleep to conserve energy. The Lander
      woke up for ten minutes for the first post-landed UHF communication
      pass one MRO orbit period (approximately 2 hours) after landing. After
      relaying data to the orbiter during that first pass, the Lander went
      to sleep again. Payload heaters were on continuously from touchdown,
      with Lander heaters kicking in around midnight for 4-5 hours of keep-
      alive heating [DESAIETAL2008].

      Spacecraft Id : PHX
      Target Name : MARS
      Mission Phase Start Time : 2008-05-25
      Mission Phase Stop Time : 2008-05-25
      Spacecraft Operations Type : LANDER

      The Characterization Phase began after the sol 0 activities were
      completed and lasted for eight  Martian sols. During this phase the
      lander's power, thermal and UHF subsystems were characterized and
      prepared for operation. The Robotic Arm (RA) system, Surface Stereo
      Imager (SSI), Microscopy, Electrochemistry, Conductivity Analyzer
      (MECA), Thermal and Evolved Gas Analyzer (TEGA), and Meteorological
      Station (MET) instruments were also characterized and prepared. Data
      collected on sol 0 were relayed to the ground, and the SSI imaged the
      lander and the surrounding environment. The Robotic Arm was unstowed
      and completed several practice sample transfers to prepare the Lander
      equipment for the primary mission [SMITHETAL2008].

      Spacecraft Id : PHX
      Target Name : MARS
      Mission Phase Start Time : 2008-05-26
      Mission Phase Stop Time : 2008-06-05
      Spacecraft Operations Type : LANDER

    Primary Mission (Surface Phase)
      The SSI provided high-resolution, stereo, and panoramic images
      throughout the Phoenix Mission. The SSI served a variety of purposes,
      including surveying the local geomorphology of the landing site,
      providing range coordinates for digging operations, and making
      atmospheric dust and cloud measurements. The SSI included two cameras
      that allowed for the capture of three-dimensional views of the
      landing site. Multispectral filters enabled imaging at 12 wavelengths
      (0.4 to 1.0 micrometers) of geological and atmospheric phenomena

      The Robotic Arm (RA) was successfully deployed and declared operational
      on sol 1 and operated through sol 149. A detailed map of the
      surrounding local geomorphology provided by the SSI allowed for the
      specification of range coordinates to the RA for digging operations.
      The RA and the associated Icy Soil Acquisition Device (ISAD)
      excavated and delivered samples to the Microscopy, Electrochemistry,
      and Conductivity Analyzer (MECA) and the Thermal Evolved Gas Analyzer
      (TEGA). The Robotic Arm Camera (RAC) was attached above the RA scoop
      and provided close-up, full-color images of various objects of
      interest in the area immediately surrounding the lander, including
      prospective soil and water ice samples in trenches dug by the RA,
      verification of collected samples in the scoop prior to analysis by
      MECA and TEGA, and the floor and side-walls of the trench to examine
      fine-scale texturing and layering [KELLERETAL2008].

      MECA was responsible for the analysis of soil samples in accordance
      with the Surface Mission objectives, and consisted of onboard
      instruments such as the Wet Chemistry Laboratory (WCL), Optical
      Microscopy (OM)/Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), and the Thermal and
      Electrical Conductivity Probe (TECP).

      WCL performed chemical analyses on three Martian soil samples. One
      soil sample was obtained from the top ~2 cm of soil and two were
      obtained at ~5 cm depth from the icy soil interface. When mixed with
      water in a ~1.25 soil to solution ratio (by volume), a portion of the
      soil components solvated. Ion concentrations were measured using an
      array of ion selective electrodes. Solution conductivity was measured
      using a conductivity cell [KOUNAVESETAL2009].

      Nine soil samples were successfully delivered to the OM/AFM for
      detailed microscopic examination [SMITHETAL2009].

      The TECP was located on the RA and measured the temperature, thermal
      conductivity, and volumetric heat capacity of the soil. It also
      detected and quantified the population of mobile H2O molecules in the
      soil, by measuring the electrical conductivity as well as the
      dielectric permittivity. TECP measured atmospheric H2O vapor
      abundance and augmented the wind velocity measurements from the
      meteorology instrumentation. TECP was mounted near the end of the RA
      and could be placed either in the soil or held aloft in the
      atmosphere [ZENTETAL2009].

      TEGA consisted of two separate components: a Differential Scanning
      Calorimeter (DSC) and an Evolved Gas Analyzer (EGA) and was a
      derivative of the instrument flown on the Mars Polar Lander
      [BOYNTONETAL2009]. Samples delivered to TEGA by the RA were heated in
      ovens to temperatures up to 950 deg C. Water and carbon dioxide
      released during the heating were analyzed in the EGA. The power
      required by the sample oven was continuously monitored during the
      heating and compared to that required to heat a similar, but empty,
      oven. The power difference was the output of the DSC. Both
      endothermic and exothermic phase transitions could be detected, and
      were used to identify the phases present. By correlating the gas
      release with the calorimetry, the abundance of the volatile compounds
      associated with the different phases was determined [SMITHETAL2009],

      A dozen trenches were excavated at the Phoenix landing site and 31
      samples were acquired for delivery to instruments on the Lander: six
      to WCL, nine to OM/AFM, and seven to TEGA. Several rocks were also
      moved to examine the underlying material. Samples delivered to TEGA,
      OM/AFM, and WCL revealed that the Martian soil consists of an
      approximately 3 cm deep surface layer of cloddy material above an
      underlying icy soil substrate. Soil samples deposited via the sprinkle
      technique indicated that the soil clods were weakly cohesive
      [ARVIDSONETAL2009], [SMITHETAL2009].

      The Meteorological Package (MET) consisted of three temperature
      sensors, one pressure sensor, and the lidar system. Temperature was
      measured by three temperature sensors fixed to the weather station
      mast. These sensors measured temperature by monitoring its effect on
      an electrical current through a closed circuit. Pressure was
      monitored throughout each sol by a pressure sensor located on the
      deck of the lander [TAYLORETAL2008].

      The lidar system measured the height profile of backscattered laser
      light from airborne dust and clouds. The system consisted of a
      rapid-pulse laser and an optical telescope. The lidar's laser shot
      rapid pulses of light into the atmosphere, which were reflected off
      airborne particles back to the optical telescope, allowing the
      composition, movement, and size of clouds and particles above the
      lander to be determined. These data were coordinated with solar
      radiation measurements and in situ sampling to study the climate and
      the water cycle [WHITEWAYETAL2008]. The SSI also captured movies of
      the Telltale wind indicator, providing additional information on wind
      velocity and direction [MOORESETAL2010].

      Spacecraft Id : PHX
      Target Name : MARS
      Mission Phase Start Time : 2008-06-05
      Mission Phase Stop Time : 2008-11-02
      Spacecraft Operations Type : LANDER
Mission Objectives Overview
    The Phoenix mission was closely aligned with the Mars Exploration
    Program objective of determining the degree to which Mars provided
    conditions critical for formation and preservation of prebiotic
    compounds and whether life started and evolved. Consequently
    determining the presence of water and its interaction with crustal
    materials was of fundamental importance. The four primary science
    objectives were tailored to investigate the history of water in all
    forms on Mars, as well as the biological potential of the soil-ice
    boundary. The four primary science goals were: (1) To study the
    history of the ground-ice and its emplacement mechanisms, (2) To
    address the effect that subsurface ice has on the local surface
    geomorphology, (3) To characterize the climate and local weather of
    the landing site, and (4) To address the habitability of the icy soil