Probe heads off to find life on Mars

August 06, 2007 – A US space probe began a long journey to Mars on Saturday, where it will land and dig through Martian soil in a search for signs of life in a freezing region of the Red Planet.

The Phoenix Mars Lander separated from a Delta II rocket after blasting off into the dark sky at 5.26am (9.26am GMT) from the Kennedy Space Centre in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Powered by solar panels, Phoenix, whose launch was delayed by one day following bad weather, is scheduled to land on Mars on 25 May 2008, after travelling 680 million kilometres through space, as per AFP.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration hopes to land the probe on flat ground with few or no rocks at a Martian latitude equivalent to northern Alaska on Earth.

During its three-month mission, the lander will pierce through soil in the planet’s arctic region amid freezing temperatures ranging from -73°C to -33°C.

The solar-powered craft is equipped with a 2.35 metre robotic arm that will enter vertically into the soil to break the icy crust believed to lie within a few inches of the surface.

The robotic arm will lift samples onto the lander’s deck and use instruments to check for water and carbon-based chemicals, considered essential building blocks for life, and analyze the soil chemistry to look for clues of past or present life.

With its two solar panels deployed, the lander, built by US aerospace firm Lockheed Martin, measures 5.5 by 1.5 metres, weighs 350 kilograms and carries 55 kilograms of scientific equipment.

“Our instruments are specially designed to find evidence for periodic melting of the ice and to assess whether this large region represents a habitable environment for Martian microbes,” said Phoenix Principal Investigator Peter Smith of the University of Arizona, Tucson.

Phoenix also has a weather station that will measure water and dust content in the atmosphere.

Many scientists see signs of ancient rivers and oceans on the arid and sterile surface of Mars, and believe the planet may once have harboured some forms of life.


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Dr. Raj Baldev, Cosmo Theorist

About Dr. Raj Baldev, Cosmo Theorist

Dr. Raj Baldev, Cosmo Theorist, Ph.D., D. Litt., D Sc. (H.C), Editor-in-Chief of International Reporter, Chairman Media International Ltd., Born on 15 January 1927 in Montgomery, now in Pakistan. Internationally known, man of letters with over dozen of books and thousands of articles to his credit on various subjects including theories on the Creation of the Universe, the Black Holes, Supernovas and other functions of the Universe, Nature and Life , which he described both ways, philosophically and scientifically. He further elaborated how the entire Cosmos were formed. He holds spiritual wisdom of predicting and curing powers of the human problems, so much so, he is popularly known as Destiny Repairer, hence people call him with respect as Swamy Ji. He got the privilege of leading various Parliamentary Delegations abroad on good will missions; he also got the privilege of being invited by differnt Heads of State on state visits. He is the Founder of God Believers (GBA) who place belief in “FAITH”, Universal Modern Religion. FAITH is not a religion but a human service, an encyclopedia of creating healthy balance between Science and God. The main purpose of this mission is to defend the Identity of God from Scientists on one hand and to help fight Global Environmental Abuses, to create awareness of high risks of Excessive Nuclear Stockpiles, global service to the Human Rights and Justice on the other. He is a very simple man, he commands special respect as a holy man with high spiritualism and people address him as His Holiness. He is equally dedicated to the cause of media and journalism where he has been serving the people through his writing for over 50 years; he has also served as Member of Press Council of India. His main aim is to serve the humanity and all kinds of life on the Earth, to serve the elders, women and children, the blind, crippled, lepers and the needy, he is committed to save the Mother Earth from the abuses caused by humans and the nature through the social mission of God Believers (GBA), which also serves the World Peace. In short, he is a global social reformer. Google