Scientists are a step closer to finding out whether there is, or ever was, life on Mars after the successful landing of the Phoenix probe. The unmanned spacecraft sent back pictures of the surface from the far north of the Red Planet.
The mission's chief scientist Peter Smith and his NASA team were ecstatic after a nail-biting landing process. Smith said: "Over the next few days we'll be getting the whole scene filled in. We've only looked at one little sliver of the Mars surface but it's exactly what we wanted and I couldn't be more pleased. This is a scientist's dream."
Phoenix reached the martian atmosphere at over 20,000 kilometers per hour. A parachute slowed its descent and thruster rockets allowed the probe to lower slowly onto its three legs.
It will now take samples of soil and ice just below the surface that will be analysed for signs of life. Landing on Mars is a notoriously tricky business, and the Phoenix was made from spare parts
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