"For me, writing is exploration; and most of the time, I'm surprised where the journey takes me."
Invasion of the Phoenix Lander
School: Sierra Middle School
Sponsoring Teacher: Mrs. Muniz
As planed, the craft successfully landed on the surface of Mars on May 18, 2008. For the next three days the instruments aboard the Phoenix Lander recorded the temperature and tested the atmosphere. Two days later, the Lander began to take soil samples. As expected, cameras and sound recording equipment mounted on the Lander continued to send images and sound to Earth.
But on May 22, at approximately 3:37 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, something unexpected happened. During the process of picking up soil and water samples, in the middle of the process both of the arms broke, so the cameras stopped working. Students from the University of Arizona got very worried. They thought that some kind of meteoroid had hit the Phoenix Lander.
The creators of the Lander had put an extra camera on the side of the Phoenix Lander. The students didn't know anything about that extra camera, until they called the people that manufactured it. Right away they turned the extra camera on. So immediately they knew what had happened. They found out that the arm that collected soil samples had broken. But they also found out that some soil, about three full coffee cups and about 50 full ounces of water, had gotten inside of the Phoenix Lander.
The students agreed that they should bring back the Phoenix Lander. So they did it, they stared the Phoenix Lander's motor and brought it back. When they had it on firm ground they studied the soil and the water. Their hypothesis was right, there was water on Mars. And even though the accident happened everything came out the way that they expected.