It's almost time!! As NASA attempts a first-ever landing near the polar ice cap of another world.
Phoenix Mars Lander will enter Mars' atmosphere at almost 13,000 miles per hour Sunday evening and then undergo what NASA engineers refer to as "seven minutes of hell" as it deploys a heat shield, then a parachute, and fires thrusters to touch down at just before 8 PM. (EDT). At least that's when NASA first learns if the landing was a success--it takes the signal 15 minutes to reach Earth.
The Phoenix Mars Lander should land about 7:53 PM (EDT), 4:53 (PDT).
Follow these historic and nail biting events (only 55% of all International Mars missions have succeeded) at these links.
Live coverage televised and online can be watched on the Canadian Discovery Channel (7-9 PM), The NASA Channel here in the States and Science Channel on some services. You can go to NASA TV and watch it streamed live online. NASA is expecting upwards of 500,000 to tune in to its live coverage on the Web. Those tuning in will see the images at the same time as NASA, and get the analysis in real time. Phoenix's mission: Dig for ice that scientists believe exists just below the surface, and determine if it has ever, or could ever, support life. If you are a member of Second Life, you can watch here. Link.
For a great overview of the Phoenix and the mission, go to the JPL Phoenix site. Link: JPL When at this site don't miss the Video: Guided Tour of Mars Landing. I linked to it - just in case. You can also follow the Phoenix on Twitter here. Link.
Another good video can be found here. It should start when page is loaded. Link.