Phoenix Lander reaches Mars, begins search for life in polar ice

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The Phoenix Mars Lander launched Aug. 4, 2007, in a quest to find life on Mars. After a 10-month journey, the lander successfully touched down on the planet's northern polar surface last night. CNN's technology and environment correspondent Miles O'Brien has been at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory since Friday. He joins us live from Pasadena, Calif.

Pictured: The Phoenix Lander's Delta 2 launch vehicle taking off; an artist's rendering of the lander itself, and one of the very first images sent back from the lander this morning after its successful touchdown last night.


Left to right: Sid Leach; Corby Waste, JPL; NASA/JPL/CalTech/University of Arizona
This is the first time a probe has been sent to Mars with the capability of excavating and analyzing the planets polar surface. The mission is meant to look for evidence of microbial life and analyze climate change on the red planet. NASA is hoping to analyze the ice just below the planets permafrost surface.