by Jim Nintzel
The Phoenix Mars Lander has touched down on the surface of Mars.
Confirmation of the successful landing came right on time at 4:53 p.m. this afternoon. A crowd at the UA Lunar and Planetary Lab's off-campus Phoenix mission headquarters cheered as the words "Touchdown signal detected" were transmitted via a feed from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Pasadena headquarters.
The landing is the culmination of an effort that began in 2002, when Peter Smith of the UA LPL proposed the Phoenix mission to NASA.
The first images from Phoenix are expected to arrive around 6:45 p.m. this afternoon.