Click on the image for the animation
NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander will enter the Martian atmosphere at hypersonic speeds. Friction will heat the forward-facing surface of the heat shield to a peak of about 1,420 degrees Celsius (2,600 degrees Fahrenheit) at an altitude of 41 kilometers (25.5 miles).
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.