Spacecraft specialists huddle to discuss the critical lift of NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander into a thermal vacuum chamber.
In December 2006, the spacecraft was in a cruise configuration prior to going into environmental testing at a Lockheed Martin Space Systems facility near Denver. At all stages of assembly and testing, the spacecraft is handled with extreme care and refinement.
The Phoenix mission is led by Principal Investigator Peter H. Smith of the University of Arizona, Tucson, with project management at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and development partnership with Lockheed Martin Space Systems. International contributions for Phoenix are provided by the Canadian Space Agency, the University of Neuchatel (Switzerland), the University of Copenhagen, and the Max Planck Institute in Germany. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
Photojournal Note: As planned, the Phoenix lander, which landed May 25, 2008 23:53 UTC, ended communications in November 2008, about six months after landing, when its solar panels ceased operating in the dark Martian winter.