SciTechBlog   « Back to Blog Main
May 27, 2008

The Mars Phoenix money shot

Posted: 04:29 PM ET

NASA just finished a briefing on the Phoenix Mars Lander, and released what I consider the money shot of the mission so far - the bright blue lander against a Martian reddish landscape, taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera. Apparently other folks thought the same thing - applause broke out in the briefing room when that photo was displayed.


At the briefing, Fuk Li of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory said Phoenix is healthy, but that the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is having a bit of a communication problem. But he says the problem will not endanger the goals of the mission.

NASA also released photos taken by Phoenix of its robotic arm, and the neighborhood it landed in. That photo shows a white dot on the horizon, believed to be the lander's parachute. You can see those photos, and more, here.

Diane Hawkins-Cox, senior producer, CNN Sci-Tech Unit

Filed under: Mars • NASA • Space

Share this on:
Steve   May 27th, 2008 5:42 pm ET

The stuff of dreams.

Great work, guys!

Hannah Hale   May 27th, 2008 5:47 pm ET

This seems like a good article, but were is the whole thing!?!?!?!?

Joe - Chicago   May 27th, 2008 6:42 pm ET

This is some cool stuff. I cannot wait until samples are analyzed for organics. cool cool cool.

s callahan   May 27th, 2008 6:48 pm ET

Beautiful pic!

I think Peter Smith has a great style in breaking down complex info for the 'average' curious mind to comprehend what NASA/Phoneix is doing. Wonderful communication. Thank You Peter.

celtn2   May 27th, 2008 9:17 pm ET

Why did we spend all this $$ to send a spaceship to Mars when we are barely funding our schools and healthcare?

pdykstra   May 27th, 2008 9:23 pm ET

From the Vice Principal:

No more comments on the scientist's name, please? We won’t publish them here — if Beavis + Butt-Head have a blog, maybe they will.

Otherwise, we really appreciate the overwhelmingly smart observations from all of you — hundreds of comments and over a quarter-million page visits since we started Mars-Blogging on Saturday.


Peter Dykstra

From The Mars Phoenix

LL   May 27th, 2008 10:23 pm ET

There is always someone who says "Why spend all this $$ to send a spaceship to Mars when we are barely funding our schools and healthcare?"

I think we all need to remember that this money isn't sent into space. It all stays here on earth.

The money pays for the salaries of hard working Americans who raise families, pay taxes and pay for healthcare insurance. To launch these probes requires Machinists, Engineers, Scientists, Professors, Support People, Janitors, etc.

What a tremendously cool way to pump money into our economy, promote technology and learn about our universe at the same time.

Travis Anderson   May 28th, 2008 1:48 am ET

wow, did you really just use the phrase "money shot?" lawl.

Holly Jarek   May 28th, 2008 8:07 am ET

Is there any footage of the NASA team members as they await those last 5 minutes. THose are so much fun to watch (although I thought a few of the gentlemen were going to have a heart attack). Watching their joy was very uplifting and it is good to have something "happy" to watch now days. Great job to everyone. Thanks

Christopher Lusardi   May 28th, 2008 8:50 am ET

I have a question. There are 8 tiny ovens. How is the soil suppose to get into these small ovens? I mean, scoop up and pour will most likely not work. There has to be something else involved. The permafrost grains is not going to be of uniform size. So, the first large grain being dropped will block any subsequent grains. The result is that nothing gets into the oven and the oven damages other ovens. The heat is about 1800 degrees farenheit. The maximum amount of soil that that can go into the oven is 30 micro something. I guess what I'm getting at is can you please describe the pre-testing. Also, why wasn't these oven temperatures used with Viking?

Antoinette C. Harvey   May 28th, 2008 9:36 am ET

When I was a child, I believed that there was at one time life on Mars. I really didn't think I would ever get to see actual photos of Mars close up. I will be 66.
I think it is wonderful that the knowledge we have accomplished to be able to do this is stupendus.

Chuck   May 28th, 2008 9:40 am ET

The money for the space program DOES NOT ALL STAY ON EARTH.
The hardware itself is sent AWAY from our planet.
Some day a space salvage company may return the money to us.
These spacecraft are worth something.
This was a low budget space mission and it looks like the return in knowledge already has made it cost effective.
The money shot?
That fuzzy colored blur?
It is an interesting picture but I like the parachute landing with the crater in the background. Hard to choose.

John Umana   May 28th, 2008 9:44 am ET

Yeah, that was an incredible 'money shot' from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter of the Phoenix parachute and lander during its May 25 descent. Be sure to check out another cool shot from the same Reconnaissance Orbiter of the Phoenix parachute and lander with Heimdall crater in the background. When Phoenix gets up and running hopefully in the next few days, its arm will be scooping up soil and testing for organic compounds. Don't expect too much of these tests, folks. Mars is abiotic, in my view, and always has been, though liquid water once covered portions of the Red Planet's surface billions of years ago, at least in the areas where Spirit and Opportunity are hot-rodding. It takes more than water for life to emerge. Yet the Universe is teeming with life and with intelligent life. NASA, JPL & the University of Phoenix - this magnificent pinpoint landing on the north pole is a stunning accomplishment!

John Bean   May 28th, 2008 9:55 am ET

"Mars Phoenix Money Shot"? Really, "money shot"? Are we so limited in our word skills that we're relying on porn lingo to describe science photos? Stay classy, CNN. That headline will look GREAT on a T-shirt.

Christopher Lusardi   May 28th, 2008 10:29 am ET

Chuck, eventually to me, there has to be ways to improve human-kinds longevity in such things as technology advancement, and military applications. The human race has not been here too long. If we want to continue to exist we have to reach to space and the stars. Otherwise, we'll go the way of the dinosaur and other extinct species.

Christopher Lusardi   May 28th, 2008 11:45 am ET

With human's continued use of the other planets resources, what will the solar system look like in a few 100s or 1000s of years. Will the moon start to crumble like in the recent HG Wells movie, and will the polar ice caps of Mars disappear! How about tapping into Jupitor's resources.

Hank   May 28th, 2008 12:00 pm ET

since when did our government care about funding education for families who cant afford it....they ( all them special secrete elite people in our society) just want to get off this planet and leave all us (poor bastards) to fend for ourselves after its not worth staying here.

Tom   May 28th, 2008 12:50 pm ET

every 11 seconds a child in the world will die of hunger. But yet we spend billions on space rsearch. Although I think it's fascinating stuff, and I really do mean that, I think we would be better off to tidy up our planet, before we go searching for life elsewhere. When we have our house in order, then we can go out and play.

Michael J. Hutchinson   May 28th, 2008 1:06 pm ET

I watched the news about the landing of Phoenix Mars Lander landing and pictures of the surface. It was good ones!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Christopher Lusardi   May 28th, 2008 1:16 pm ET

Overpopulation is a human term. Evolution involves the spread of mass populations and then mass extinctions. If the human race cannot socially evolve we are doomed. Science is the only solution. By all means go to the stars.

John Umana   May 28th, 2008 1:28 pm ET

According to Wikipedia, the term originates from mainstream feature filmmakers, who used the term 'money shot' as slang for the image that costs the most money to produce and pulls in the audience. Wikipedia gives the example: in an action thriller, an expensive special effects sequence of a dam bursting might be called the "money shot" of the film. I am not familiar with any derogatory usage of the term, and am confident that the author of the article intended the phrase in its normal good-natured intendment, as is clear from the context.

Finally Home, plus News Potpourri « Thoughts En Route   May 28th, 2008 1:45 pm ET

[...] the two NASA/JPL pictures below are from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (found by reading this article and following to this NASA/JPL collection).  The first is actually a picture of Phoenix [...]

DH   May 28th, 2008 1:58 pm ET

Tom, the space program it is just peanuts. And the returns, invaluable.

The biggest money pit in US, it is corporate marketing. For every dollar spent on engineering in US (both public and private) about 3 dollars are spent in marketing, business relations and PR.

The amount of aspirin (for example) consumed in US is driven by the population needs. When an aspirin producer use marketing to increase it market share, they just grab market share from other producers. Then the other guys are fighting back with more PR to recover the lost market share.
In the end, at macro-economic level nothing change. The population consume the same amount of aspirin as before and the public health is no better, only the viewer brains are flooded with more trash. Yet, billions of man hours of work and billion of dollars has been wasted for nothing. All those money and manpower can be used for better purpose, like feeding poor starving kids.

Poor kids, whose kids may go to colonize the terraformed Mars when the Earth population become to big for our planet to handle. But to do that, they need the pioneering efforts by NASA.

So, while the space research is going to pay back for next generations and possible save the human kind, the unregulated business environment burn thousands times more money for nothing.

Ken   May 28th, 2008 2:46 pm ET

Your title is misleading; the story is not about why tornadoes are happening more; this question is addressed only in the last sentence with the statement: we don't know why . . .

CopperEdge   May 28th, 2008 2:49 pm ET

Yes it is sad to see all the suffering in the world, while this is happening, but events like these spur on others to benefit mankind in so many ways in the future. Gee, "Star Trek" itself never did anything directly for humans, but the innovation and advancements that it generated has changed the world. Just think about the computer you are using right now to read this article!

The technology developed and used in so many of these applications is now being used for humanitarian purposes. This is how we develop solar ovens for starving tribespeople in several parts of the world. NGO's are supplying starving tribes and refugees with very effective solar ovens, the women of these tribes no longer have to forage for fuel outside of their villages, and face the daily risk of attack or abduction by rival tribes etc.

BTW, next time you head anything up in the Microwave, you can thank the space program and R&D initiatives like that.

Christopher Lusardi   May 28th, 2008 3:23 pm ET

I guess, I'll just thank Star Trek next time I get a headache from my cell phone. Anyway, I'm looking into buying a headset per Larry King's enlightening show last night.

Warren Heath   May 29th, 2008 9:42 am ET

"every 11 seconds a child in the world will die of hunger"
Yeah, that's why we spend 10's of billions on energy negative corn ethanol, that has caused an explosion in food prices, when all it does is converts oil & natural gas into ethanol (and makes ADM & Cargill super rich).

."When we have our house in order, then we can go out and play"
That's like saying, first you have to pay all your debts, fix your house, raise your children and put them through college, then you can have a holiday, buy a TV, get a pet, dine out.

Wondering   May 29th, 2008 10:44 pm ET

I don't understand the people who worry about the human race going extinct.You will be extinct one day and so will I.Even if man can live hundreds of years,they will become extinct. Unless we can change basic scientific laws,and there is no evidence that we can,then we will one day become extinct. I guess my point is, after you expire and your short little dance here on Earth is through,are you going to be laying in billions of tiny organic pieces lamenting human extinction? Question: If humankind becomes extinct and noone is around to give a crap,does anyone give a crap?

Jeramel Mingueto   May 30th, 2008 6:00 am ET

The days and hours comparing our planet to planet Mars is not the same. We have 24 hours, 7 days, 12 months (Earth) but the Planet Mars is different from us. Many people will die when living there. The natural air in Mars sometimes is hot not same as planet Earth. Do you think we must provide each of us a Rain Coat for protecting our skin wherever we are (planet Earth)

Bret   May 30th, 2008 2:20 pm ET


Sometimes I wish there was an IQ test required before someone was allowed to post to the internet.

Why must people make comments about things of which they have no knowledge? It is ok to question, but I find it annoying when people state things as if they where fact when it is obvious they don't know the first things about the subject they are discussing.

It is ok to be ignorant on various subjects. No one can know everything about everything.

My two cents...

P.Donovan   May 30th, 2008 9:14 pm ET

Let the tree huggers ramble....What an image! Who would have imagined the accomplishments our Space program have achieved! How fascinating and refreshing an image[call it what you will] What a blessed country we are to achieve this endeavor,Is it great to be an American or what!!

cheritycall   October 27th, 2008 4:44 am ET

Hi, Do something to help the hungry people in Africa and India,
I created this blog about that subject:

Owen Murphy   May 19th, 2010 11:22 pm ET

my uncle got stomach ulcers because he took a lot of Aspirin to take care of his high blood pressure.;.~

KamclEalt   June 5th, 2012 4:08 pm ET

Los Angeles Web Design We can build any kind of website you need and put it on the top of Google today! First page ranking no problem! SEO, Search Engine Optimization WordPress, Joomla, Magento, Ecommerce, Social Network, Amazon, Ebay, Choose from hundreds of designs or make one from srcatch with us! Logos, Graphic arts, Flash Design. We are on the first page of all Search engines for Los Angeles Top Web Designers". CALL US NOW!!! (323) 568 6055

Ciara Antczak   December 20th, 2020 6:48 pm ET

You will find on our sites distinctive no deposit bonuses,no deposit casino , no deposit poker , no deposit bingo , no deposit forex and all the very best deposit bonuses

replacement key fob for peugeot 307 cc   January 4th, 2021 8:55 pm ET

Very interesting details you have noted, appreciate it for putting up.

Wilmer Millwee   January 11th, 2021 11:34 pm ET

There is noticeably a bundle to know about this. I assume you made sure nice points in options also.

Kamala Nordenson   January 28th, 2021 10:03 pm ET

I like this post, enjoyed this one thank you for putting up. "We seldom attribute common sense except to those who agree with us." by La Rochefoucauld.

plumbing company Drexel   February 14th, 2021 3:07 pm ET

712979 893623Great post mate, maintain the wonderful function, just shared this with ma friendz 533786

Wilson Skaare   March 4th, 2021 9:35 am ET

Very interesting details you have mentioned , regards for putting up. "You can tell the ideas of a nation by it's advertisements." by Douglas South Wind.

Florene Voegeli   March 6th, 2021 1:46 pm ET

I like what you guys are up also. Such clever work and reporting! Keep up the excellent works guys I've incorporated you guys to my blogroll. I think it will improve the value of my website :).

Floria Thivener   March 6th, 2021 2:20 pm ET

Lesley Toepel   March 7th, 2021 1:38 pm ET

buy kimber hand gun online   March 9th, 2021 10:10 am ET

212534 653433If you are nonetheless on the fence: grab your favorite earphones, head down to a Very best Buy and ask to plug them into a Zune then an iPod and see which one sounds better to you, and which interface makes you smile a lot more. Then you will know which is appropriate for you. 212368

주소모아   March 14th, 2021 1:31 am ET

795650 90974Its actually a nice and valuable piece of info. Im glad that you just shared this valuable information with us. Please maintain us informed like this. Thanks for sharing. 452809

replica rolex swiss knockoffs   April 11th, 2021 6:57 am ET

548931 995320Dead pent topic matter, thanks for entropy. 695107

buy/order Watermelon Tarts Cannabis Edibles online use for pain, anxiety, sleep for sale near me bulk in usa uk nz canada australia overnight delivery   April 29th, 2021 6:25 pm ET

199433 136991Really educating story, saved your internet site for hopes to read more! 333

María   May 9th, 2021 6:31 am ET

No dudes en buscar una comuna sobre todo si estas empezando y quieres muchas herramientas, esta es la mejor opción que conozco, échenle una ojeada , cupón ( Dscto20 )

Paula   May 9th, 2021 8:22 am ET

Existen muchas comunas con diferentes herramientas SEO, pero en cualquier comunidad seria le recomendaran esta, el servicio al cliente es increíble , no lo digo yo, pregunten a cualquier popular. Si no quieren perder el tiempo ahora saben, además tienen un descuento con Dscto20

Amalia   May 9th, 2021 1:30 pm ET

Descuento del 20 en con el cupón Dscto20, no pierdan el tiempo con comunas que solo desean saber sus nichos y únanse a esta que tiene todo tipo de herramientas y complemento.

Raeann Dooley   May 11th, 2021 6:30 am ET

Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is basically a video game where you can do anything you want. Second life is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these sl websites and blogs

xo so vietlott   May 17th, 2021 8:33 am ET

36388 316306This really is something I in fact have to try and do lots of analysis into, thanks for the post 718113

best rolex yacht master replica   May 21st, 2021 5:34 am ET

505887 187020I really got into this write-up. I located it to be interesting and loaded with unique points of interest. I like to read material that makes me think. Thank you for writing this excellent content material. 117993

visit   May 30th, 2021 9:14 pm ET

I truly wanted to post a brief comment to be able to thank you for some of the lovely pointers you are sharing at this site. My incredibly long internet search has at the end of the day been honored with excellent facts and techniques to share with my good friends. I 'd express that most of us site visitors are really lucky to exist in a wonderful site with so many special people with insightful tips and hints. I feel rather blessed to have come across your site and look forward to so many more entertaining moments reading here. Thanks a lot once more for all the details.

Joe Birnell   June 4th, 2021 12:31 am ET

"Season".I answered your security

Porter Mccurren   June 6th, 2021 11:35 pm ET

This is the final decisionThis is a very small beam.

Marisol Dao   June 7th, 2021 9:58 pm ET

This was great! I would like you to clean up all this spam though

Roger Kearby   June 9th, 2021 2:45 am ET

This was great! I would like you to clean up all this spam though

Noma Sherer   June 9th, 2021 8:53 am ET

Buggle (Burvova) Switzerland is for Switzerland.

Zetta Smith   June 12th, 2021 6:42 pm ET

Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is basically a video game where you can do anything you want. sl is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these sl websites and blogs

Leave Your Comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

subscribe RSS Icon
About this blog

Are you a gadgethead? Do you spend hours a day online? Or are you just curious about how technology impacts your life? In this digital age, it's increasingly important to be fluent, or at least familiar, with the big tech trends. From gadgets to Google, smartphones to social media, this blog will help keep you informed.

subscribe RSS Icon
Powered by VIP