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ExoLance
Phoenix Mars mission passes early tests
Posted: Thu, Sep 6, 2007, 7:25 AM ET (1125 GMT)
Phoenix Mars lander illustration (Univ. of Arizona) NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander, launched just over a month ago, has passed a series of in-flight tests, project officials said this week. The spacecraft's landing radar and UHF radio completed a series of check-out tests in late August with no problems reported. The two items are critical for the spacecraft's safe landing: the radar will provide data on the spacecraft's final descent to the surface, while the UHF radio will relay spacecraft data to orbiting Mars spacecraft for transmission to Earth. Spacecraft operators also tested one of the spacecraft's instruments, with the rest to be checked out by mid-October. Phoenix will land on the northern polar plains of Mars on May 25, 2008.
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