Thursday, May 22, 2008

Mo' Mars

Posted By on Thu, May 22, 2008 at 12:04 PM

Here's another short NASA film with some way-cool animation of the Entry, Descent and Landing of the Phoenix Mars Lander that's set to touch down on Sunday, May 25.

Our friends over at KUAT-TV are airing Phoenix Mars Mission: Ashes to Ice tonight at 9 p.m. (It will also air at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. on KUAT-HD, which can be found at digital 27.1, Cox 706 and Comcast 220.)

The show, which takes us inside the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory as scientists build and launch the Phoenix, has been picked up to run on PBS stations nationwide tonight. Congrats to producer Tom Kleespie, photographer Martin Rubio and editor Steve Bayless.

Here's the Phoenix home page. And here's the latest release from the UA about the Mars Mania this weekend.

From UA press office:

Mars University

The University of Arizona community is celebrating the Phoenix Mars Mission.

The Phoenix Mars Lander is days from ending its long journey and beginning a three-month mission to explore Martian soil and buried ice. The lander is scheduled to touch down on the Red Planet on Sunday at approximately 4:38 p.m. PDT (7:38 p.m. EDT).

The University of Arizona will mark the occasion with public celebrations taking place across the campus. The mission will last about 90 days and the UA – which is the first public university ever to lead a mission to Mars – will provide several ways for the public to access the mission and the news it will generate.

Public Landing Celebration

On Sunday, the UA Lunar and Planetary Laboratory and Flandrau: The UA Science Center will host a public landing celebration on the campus mall in front of Flandrau and the neighboring science buildings – the Sonett Space Sciences Building and the Kuiper Space Sciences Building.

It will feature live coverage of events taking place at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, plus provide access to the science center, children’s activities and presentations by UA scientists involved on the Phoenix and other Mars missions. Many of the buildings will feature displays of extraordinary space images generated by instruments developed by UA scientists.

The UA Museum of Art also will host a landing celebration in conjunction with its exhibit of the work of legendary space artist Robert McCall.

Kuiper Building: 3-8 p.m.

NASA TV streaming in atrium and rooms 301, 308, 309 and 312

Space Imagery Center tours from 3-4 p.m. (Room 450)

Children’s science activities and experiments

Presentations by Bill Boynton, Daniel Janes, Alfred McEwen and Rob Bovill, all with the UA’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory

Sonett Building: 3-8 p.m.

NASA TV streaming in lobby and small conference room

The “HiWALL,” a floor-to-ceiling computer display of the giant and dramatic images of the surface of Mars, taken from the UA’s High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment, or HiRISE, camera that now orbits the Red Planet.

Video presentations

Flandrau: The UA Science Center: 3-8 p.m.

NASA TV streaming in gallery

Exhibits will be open top the public at no charge

Free planetarium shows at 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. A telescope will be opened for Mars viewing after dark (Mars will be visible in the western sky around sunset)

Campus Mall: 3-8 p.m.

Overflow seating in case of large turnout (main tent will seat 100)

NASA audio feed

Solar telescopes for viewing from 3-5 p.m.

Physics Factory shows

UA Museum of Art: 1-4 p.m.

Robert McCall’s space art exhibit, “Imagination Unbound,” will be open to the public

Presentation by the Postal History Foundation about McCall’s postage stamp design

Hands-on children’s activities that merge science and art

There will be free parking in campus garages for landing-day events. Bathrooms will be available inside the Sonett, Kuiper and Flandrau buildings.

TV Coverage of Landing

Coverage of the Phoenix landing will be broadcast live on:

NASA-TV: 3:30 p.m. PDT/6:30 p.m. EDT

The Science Channel: 4 p.m. PDT/7 p.m. EDT

Discovery Channel Canada: 4 p.m. PDT/7 p.m. EDT

Cox Communications announced this week that it will add the digital NASA-TV to its local lineup in Tucson so that its viewers can enjoy the coverage of the Phoenix landing and science operations.

Staying Connected


Daily e-mail updates will be available via UANow, the UA’s daily newswire. Subscribe at


Visit the UA’s Mars main Web site at for news, images, links and resources to follow the Phoenix Mission as it unfolds.

Mission Web site:




Watch daily media briefings live on NASA TV, which Cox Communications will carry in Tucson between May 23 and June 26. A live online feed of NASA TV is also available at


Call 520-621-MARS for recorded Phoenix Mars Mission updates.

Ongoing Campus Activities

UA Visitor Center

Throughout the summer of 2008 the UA Visitor Center will serve as the Phoenix Mission Welcome Center. Located on the northwest corner of Euclid Avenue and University Boulevard, it will serve visitors as a first stop and referral center to all of the exciting events occurring on campus that relate to the Phoenix Mission. It will feature daily mission updates, maps to campus attractions and live pictures and video of the NASA mission in progress.

Weekly Mission Open House

On a space-available basis, member of the public may sign up online to visit the Science Operations Center once a week while the mission is in progress. Those wishing to visit the mission may inquire at

Flandrau: The UA Science Center

A curved “Mars Wall” in the lobby of the science center will replicate a portion of the surface of Mars in three dimensions. While there, visitors can watch “Mars Quest” under the planetarium dome.

Student Union Memorial Center

The “Mars Lounge,” located on the main level of the Union, will feature an overview of the mission, from launch to the envisioned landing and science operations, plus updated photos and images from the mission. Collectors can pick up mission T-shirts, caps and other logo products at the UA BookStore.

Kuiper Space Sciences Building

The “HiWALL” will be on display throughout the summer.

Sonett Space Sciences Building

The latest HiRISE images will be presented in large print displays, along with a full-scale model of the famed camera.

UA Museum of Art

The entire work and archives of space artist Robert McCall were recently donated to the UA, and an exhibit of his work is on display at the museum through Aug. 10.

The Phoenix Mission is led by Smith with project management at JPL. The development partnership is with Lockheed Martin, Denver. International contributions are from the Canadian Space Agency; the University of Neuchatel, Switzerland; the universities of Copenhagen and Aarhus, Denmark; the Max Planck Institute, Germany; and the Finnish Meteorological Institute.

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