The Phoenix mission landed on the arctic plains of Mars in May and is still operating way beyond its primary mission of 100 sols. It has dug down to the ice buried just below the surface and analysed the dust and soil with a suite of instruments. Part of the payload is a microscope station able to take high resolution optical images of the Martian dust and soil, and which also includes an atomic force microscope that can study the details of individual grains of material with one hundred times the resolution of previous missions. This talk describes the Phoenix mission, the major results to emerge so far, and gives a more personal insight into the long journey from the first conception of an instrument to getting data back from another planet.
Our General Interest Seminars are an opportunity for distinguished speakers to present new research in physics and related areas. The material presented is suitable for undergraduate level upwards and all members of the School are welcome to attend..