NASA news briefings, live commentary and updates before and after the scheduled Sunday, May 25 arrival of the agency's Phoenix Mars Lander will be available on NASA Television and on the Web.
Entry, descent and landing begins at 4:46 p.m. PDT on May 25, when the flight team listens for radio signals indicating that Phoenix has entered the top of the Martian atmosphere. The spacecraft must perform a series of challenging transformations and activities during the seven minutes after it enters the atmosphere to slow it from 12,000 mph to 5 mph and a soft touchdown. The Phoenix team will be watching for radio signals confirming the landing at 4:53 p.m. More than half of previous international attempts to land on Mars have been unsuccessful. For a detailed schedule and landing timeline, visit:
The deadline for U.S. journalists to request media credentials to cover the Phoenix mission from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., is Tuesday, May 20. Foreign journalists requesting credentials must apply by Friday, May 16. Requests for media credentials must be made online at:
Media wishing to cover the mission from the University of Arizona in Tucson, must apply online at:
Briefings on mission goals, challenges, status and final trajectory adjustments will originate from JPL on Thursday, May 22, at 11:30 a.m. and on Saturday and Sunday, May 25-26, at noon.
On landing day, May 25, live landing commentary will air on NASA TV. A telecast of mission control – without roll-in videos and interviews -- will run on NASA TV's Media Channel beginning at 3 p.m. Another telecast with commentary, interviews and videos will begin at 3:30 p.m. on NASA TV's Public Channel. For more information on NASA TV and this coverage schedule, visit:
Both telecasts will continue through landing and will resume at 6:30 p.m. during the period after landing when engineers anticipate the receipt of data and possible images confirming that Phoenix has opened its solar panels successfully.
A news briefing at JPL will be held Sunday, May 25 at 9 p.m., following landing and the first possible downlink of images. Briefing updates at JPL also are scheduled on Monday, May 26 at 11 a.m. and on Tuesday, May 27 at 11 a.m.
Daily news briefings will continue at 11 a.m. for several days following a successful landing. Mission control and the site for news briefings will then shift to the University of Arizona in Tucson after a determination that the spacecraft is in a safe condition for conducting science operations. The earliest possibility for moving the host site for mission news briefings to the University of Arizona's Space Operations Center is Wednesday, May 28. Mission briefings from Pasadena and Tucson will be carried on NASA TV unless preempted by other NASA events.
For NASA TV streaming video, schedules, and downlink information, visit:
Guy Webster/Jane Platt 818-354-5011
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
Dwayne Brown 202-358-1726
NASA Headquarters, Washington
Sara Hammond 520-626-1974
University of Arizona, Tucson
NEWS RELEASE: 2008-077