Robotic Mars exploration has been no picnic. Half of all Mars missions have ended in failure. But right now, the Mars Phoenix Lander is up there, well-landed, sending back astonishing images, and — it appears — shaking off its problems extending the eight-foot arm that will dig for ice.
The Phoenix is looking for conditions that would support life on Mars. But the bigger search for life “out there” goes way beyond the Martian north pole, to “weird life” and “exoplanets.”
This hour, On Point: The Phoenix has landed: the new mission to Mars, and the search for life beyond Earth.
Peter Smith, principal investigator and project leader of the Phoenix Mars Mission and a scientist at the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory.
Sara Seager, professor of planetary science and associate professor of physics at MIT.
Michael Meyer, lead scientist for NASA’s Mars Exploration Program.