A new space explorer is waiting in the wings and ready to take center stage: the Mars lander called Phoenix. Set for launch aboard a Delta II rocket, Phoenix's assignment is to dig through the Martian soil and ice in the arctic region and use its onboard scientific instruments to analyze the samples it retrieves.
Both rocket and spacecraft are undergoing final preparation at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Date: Aug. 3
Time: 5:35 a.m. EDT