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What's New?

by Patrick Woida

March 25, 2008 -
Well as I have a moment, it seems a good time to let everyone know that all is well. I've had a chance to fire up our cameras on PHX (the Stereo and Robotic Arm Cameras) and they are fine and ready to go. We also had another of our Operational Readiness Tests last week (up to 9 now), and that went so well we were able to run for 8 instead of 9 days (Day 9 was to make up for problems if we had any).

The Spacecraft is in good health and the team is doing great too. We ran the first 8 days on Mars, to be sure the people, commands, and support were all in working order. Very encouraging for us. We have one more dress rehearsal at the start of May,
a few weeks before landing. It feels great when these tests end. Not because I'm happy it's over, but because it puts us one more milestone closer to the real deal on Mars!!! It's very hard to wait until Memorial Day Weekend. The first week is focused on getting the Phoenix ready to do Science. We evaluate the state of the instruments and onboard systems. It takes about a week of setup, but we'll be slipping in as many good pictures of Mars and science as we can while we do a great deal of engineering work.

We're on the run, so there has been little time for blogs, so here's a false color picture of the scoop inside the biobarrier take with the RAC after travelling more than 500,000,000 kilometers to Mars. This is the same view as the first images we got back after launch, now a 1/2 year later.