Click on the image for the animation
Seven minutes before NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander enters the Martian atmosphere, it will jettison the cruise stage hardware that it relied on during the long flight from Earth.
This illustration is part of the animation featured above.
The Phoenix Mission is led by the University of Arizona, Tucson, on behalf of NASA. Project management of the mission is by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. Spacecraft development is by Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver.
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.