Mission Profile


  • Launched: August 4, 2007 at 5:26 a.m. EDT on a Delta II rocket from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
  • Landed on Mars: Radio signals received at 4:53:44 p.m. Pacific Time (7:53:44 p.m. Eastern Time) confirmed the Phoenix Mars Lander had survived its difficult final descent and touchdown 15 minutes earlier. The signals took that long to travel from Mars to Earth at the speed of light.
  • Landing site: Near Mars's northern polar cap in an area known as Vastitas Borealis
  • Distance between Earth and Mars on May 25, 2008: 276 million kilometres
  • One-way radio transit time Mars to Earth on May 25, 2008: 15.3 minutes
  • Distance travelled, Earth to Mars: About 680 million kilometres
  • Primary mission: Planned for 90 Martian days, or "sols" (equivalent to 92 Earth days), in actuality lasted five months
  • Near-surface atmospheric temperatures at landing site during the primary mission: -73°C to -33°C

Phoenix Lander

  • Weight of the craft: 350 kg (772 pounds)
  • Power: solar panels and lithium-ion batteries
  • Dimensions:
    • height to top of meteorology mast: 2.2 metres (depending on the effect of the impact);
    • span of deployed solar arrays: 5.52 metres;
    • deck diameter: 1.5 metres;
    • length of robotic arm: 2.35 metres
  • Weight of the science payload: 55 kilograms includes:
    • robotic arm and camera
    • surface stereoscopic imager
    • thermal and evolved-gas analyzer
    • microscopy, electrochemistry and conductivity analyzer
    • Mars descent imager
    • Canadian meteorological station

Launch Vehicle

  • Type: Delta II 7925 (three-stage)
  • Height with payload: 39.6 meters
  • Mass fully fueled: 231,126 kilograms

Phoenix program

  • Overall cost: US$420 million, including development, science instruments, launch and operations
  • Canada's contribution: CDN$37 million for the design, building, operations and scientific support