Saturday, May 24, 2008

Phoenix Special > One Day to Mars!

So...24 hours to Mars hey?...
Butterflies all over my belly man...all over!

I want to write and my fingers don't seem to obbey me.
My mind and body seem to be already living in tomorrow's domains...
Butterflies all over my belly...all over!
But I want to be part of the party so here I am, there's a lot of things to say...

First!
Landing Songs...
In the last hours a variety of suggestions have arrived spacEurope's mailbox...

It is time to add this to the list...

Aleta Duvall, from Huntsville, Alabama, USA would like to honor Mr. Joe Satriani by nominating his composition "Surfing with the Alien" for addition to the "Songs for a Landing" list...done!
Take a deep breath and enjoy Brian Dernesch's, another spacEurope reader, warm suggestion...
Davin Flateau indicated this really inspiring video...enjoy it and...damn...the tension is really building up!
Now, from inside the team, our dear Patrick Woida, Phoenix Mars Scout Mission Surface Ops and Payload Interoperability Testbed Engineer, has suggested something that I want really to listen to but there isn't a youtube link for it...let us keep with the lyrics...

And last, but surely not the least, our Principal Investigator, Peter Smith...sit yourself comfortably and enjoy "By the time I get to Phoenix" by the one and only Mr. Isaac Hayes...

Now...secondly, another thing...have you checked Phoenix's website today?...You should!
It is truly a pleasure for spacEurope crew to be associated in this way with the mission and this has only one consequence...
Butterflies! Butterflies all over my belly!
Once more congratulations to the competition participants, in particular to Doug Ellison for his, not enough repeating it, fantastic artwork.

To wrap this post let us speak about inside stuff from...yesterday...but hey! It really worths reading it to get an idea about the people actually making this possible are facing the final hours before landing...

Our dear Daniel Parrat, who is at Tucson working on the microscopy station of MECA, i.e. the Optical Microscope (OM) and the FAMARS instrument at the Phoenix Science Operations Center is back after his latest presence here at spacEurope when we were 44 days from Mars.
What has Daniel to tell us?
Read it yourself:

"We are now less than 48 hours from D day, I can't believe it!

The operations center becomes very crowded now, with discussions and meetings everywhere. People are not strangers to each others now, we have spent - and hopefully will spend - many days together.

This Friday evening, the sequencing engineers had their last training with Julia Bell, who has coached us so many times during the last months. She has worked for the MER rovers, and now she puts her talents and her fantastic enthusiasm to work for the Phoenix mission. We all feel the pressure rising but we are incredibly hungry to start working. The control sequences that we plan to use during the characterization phase are now validated, just in time!

On Sunday, there will be a large event with the members of the missions and their families. Hundreds of persons are expected, as well as dozens of journalists. The "seven minutes of terror" preceding the landing will be a dramatic time; I could barely imagine the atmosphere with all these people breathlessly awaiting the touchdown. If everything goes well - my mind can not imagine something else - we will celebrate in style. We should however limit our enthusiasm, as we will start the surface operations a few minutes or hours later, depending on our respective shift. My shift ends at about 6.00 in the morning, so I should get some rest after the landing. Not sure if the adrenaline level will permit it!

See our Daniel working hard? He is not on Mars actually...but you know that don't you?...

Tomorrow, I will probably spend a calm day with my wife and my little daughter, and only spend a couple of hours on the last checks. I have not slept very well these days, so it's the last occasion to load the batteries. At this point the best I can do is probably cross my fingers..."

24 hours my friends...24 hours from the pole!

Onward Phoenix!

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