MRO (Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter) imaged Phoenix suspended from its parachute during descent through the Martian atmosphere.
Phoenix is a robotic spacecraft on a space exploration mission on Mars under the Mars Scout Program. The scientists conducting the mission are using instruments aboard the Phoenix lander to search for environments suitable for microbial life on Mars, and to research the history of water there. The multi-agency program is headed by the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona, under the direction of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The program is a partnership of universities in the United States, Canada, Switzerland, Denmark, Germany, the United Kingdom, NASA, the Canadian Space Agency, the Finnish Meteorological Institute, Lockheed Martin Space Systems, MacDonald Dettwiler & Associates (MDA) and other aerospace companies.
Phoenix is the sixth successful landing on Mars, out of twelve total attempts (seven of which were American). It is the third successful static lander and the first since Viking 2, and as of 2008 the most recent spacecraft to land successfully on Mars. It is also the first successful landing on a polar region of Mars.