NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander was lowered into a thermal vacuum chamber at Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, in December 2006. The spacecraft was folded in its aeroshell and underwent environmental testing that simulated the extreme conditions the space
May 9, 2007 A NASA spacecraft touched down on the coast of Florida after a brief 3-1/2 hour trip from the foothills of the Rocky Mountains on Monday, but the spacecraft's next and final trip will be a 9-1/2 month journey to Mars. The spacecraft, the Phoenix Mars Lander, was delivered by its builder Lockheed Martin aboard an Air Force C-17 to NASA's Kennedy Space Center. The vehicle will undergo three more months of testing and integration in preparation for its launch on a Delta II launch vehicle in early August. Phoenix is NASA's next mission to Mars and is the first mission of NASA's Mars Scout Program. Scheduled to arrive on Mars in May 2008, the spacecraft will land on the icy northern latitudes of Mars. During its 90-day primary mission, Phoenix will dig trenches with its robotic arm into the frozen layers of water below the surface. The spacecraft will use various on-board instruments to analyze the contents of the ice and soil - checking for the presence of organic compounds and other conditions favorable for life.