- SPECIAL REPORTS
- THE MAGAZINE
Redlands, California-On May 25, 2008, the Phoenix Mars Lander successfully touched down on Mars, giving the world a fresh glimpse of the Red Planet's polar region. ESRI participated in an event to celebrate this historic craft on the inaugural day of its mission.
Hundreds gathered in the auditorium of the Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie in Paris, France, to hear narration of the phases of descent in real time. ESRI was invited to display images of the landing area, taken by the Mars Global Surveyor since 1997, with ArcGIS Explorer. ArcGIS Explorer displayed the images in 3D, which gave the audience a clearer understanding of why the Phoenix Lander team chose the site.
ESRI France participated in the event because ESRI ArcGIS Explorer can import geodata, including data about other planets and moons, and view it in 3D. These photorealistic displays engaged the audience by showing the exact perspective of the probe as it descended. During the event, Gilles Dawidowicz, planetary scientist, French Astronomical Society, described the imagery and its importance to Martian mission planning.
"Phoenix is a wonderful space mission, as it will be the first time we will 'touch' Martian water," says Dawidowicz. "That's probably why people are so fascinated by this lander. Water is an essential prerequisite for life and will play a key role in manned expeditions to Mars."
The Phoenix Mars Lander's primary mission is to research the history of water on Mars.
For more information on ArcGIS Explorer, visit www.esri.com/arcgisexplorer.