"PASADENA, Calif. – NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander is in fine health after its unprecedented landing in the Martian arctic Sunday as mission scientists turn their attention to the craft's main goal: to explore the layers of water ice under the frozen soil.
Phoenix set down on the flat, cracked terrain of Mars' northern polar region after a harrowing, but successful, plunge through the planet's atmosphere.
"I know it looks like a parking lot, but it's a safe place to land," said Phoenix principal investigator Peter Smith of the University of Arizona, where the mission will be controlled for the majority of its primary 90-day run. "This is a scientist's dream right here on this landing site."
Mission scientists received the probe's first call home here at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) at about 7:53 p.m. EDT (2353 GMT) on Sunday, though it takes signals about 15 minutes to traverse the 171 million miles (275 million km) between Mars and back on Earth..."
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Now, if they find water under the permafrost, can we send Bush and Cheney to start terraforming? Perhaps they can take John McMutant the Same with them.