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Arizona Set To Begin Mission To Mars

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After several months of review by an independent board reporting to NASA, the University of Arizona can proceed with its mission.

The “Phoenix Mars Lander 2007 mission”, destined to land on the Martian landscape in its northern regions in 2008, will begin its final stage with NASA’s blessing.

Arizona Set To Begin Mission To Mars

According to the Arizona Central, the lengthy six-month process was generally predicted to be one the proposal could pass. The University has received $386 million USD in grant money for the mission to date.

This mission will place the Phoenix probe on Mars, where it can dig under the surface soil, examine the ice beneath, and find any evidence of life that may exist there. A robotic arm will do the digging, and the probe will search for microbes.

Significantly, the operation will be run from a University lab and not from a NASA facility. It will be the first Mars mission to do so.

Work on this mission dates back to the 2000 Mars Polar Lander probe, which crashed into the Martian landscape. That setback placed the next scheduled probe into storage as its mission was canceled.

When University researchers applied for a new Martian grant, they suggested getting that probe out of storage at Lockheed Martin. Thus the symbology for the mission rising from the ashes like the mythical phoenix.

The mission will begin in Florida in 2007, with the new probe launching from Kennedy Space Center.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.

Arizona Set To Begin Mission To Mars
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