NASA’s Phoenix spacecraft successfully landed on Mars’ frigid north pole region late Sunday in a risk-fraught mission to search for signs of habitability, the US space agency said.
“Phoenix has landed,” a NASA official said as the safe touchdown was confirmed.
The Mars Phoenix Lander successfully deployed a parachute and then thrusters to brake in a tense seven minutes from 20,400 kilometers per hour (12,700 miles per hour) to manage a soft landing on its three legs.
Mission officials at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, were seen on television cheering and giving each other hugs and high-fives after signals sent back from the craft confirmed the arrival of the first spacecraft ever to land on the Martian arctic.
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