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Final Blog: Sept 30th Farewell

by Patrick Woida

September 26, 2008 -
Well the best years of my professional life come to a close. Aside from the Phoenix pushing on with her work on Mars, the last week has been filled with some wonderful events. The University hosted  a team-wide celebration for those from UA/LPL, JPL, Lockheed/Martin and other individuals from many institutions who made the mission a success. Also on the weekend Peter Smith, Mike Drake, Alfred McEwen, Rigel & myself were recognized with a civic award called the Dynamic Duo. We wrapped up with a party I call a "wake for the departing" for those of us leaving on Sept 30th. Reminded me very much of the family holiday get togethers we had when I was a kid. Some very warm and fuzzy moments to put the cherry on top a great 4.66 years :-)

The mission will go on without us, with limited staffing and activities until solar conjunction (when the sun is between Earth & Mars) in mid-Nov. I have missed those who have already gone and will now miss participating in what has become the highest point in my career. I want to thank those of you who have read the blogs, sent emails or come to talks I have given, and have distributed them to a wider audience.

Please continue to spread the world that there is hope for the future, my core message to you all along. I've been on the soapbox to say the launch would be great, we would endure the trip to Mars, we would have a successful landing, that if my cameras made it to Mars they would do their job, and that we would continue long past the first 90 days. It wasn't blind, this success of the mission was no accident, it was the due to the extraordinary effort of a team of gifted individual who pursued all these goals with passion and diligence. The things accomplished are really the manifestation of that belief in tomorrow.

Perhaps at this point in all our lifetimes, the importance of the Phoenix Mission is its demonstration that it is worth having faith that the future will be better than today. That people can achieve the remarkable, even when the odds a squarely against them. The Phoenix wasn't just a rebirth of some old space hardware, it was also a rebirth in spirit. I can only hope some of that spirit has past to you all.

So ends my final blog, I have given my best efforts to Phoenix and give to you my best wishes.

Pat Woida