University Has Role in Mars Landing

1 decade 10 months 2 weeks ago Friday, August 03 2007 Aug 3, 2007 Friday, August 03, 2007 10:43:08 AM CDT August 03, 2007 in News
Source: (Copyright 2007 The Associated Press All Rights Reserved.)
ST. LOUIS (AP) - As the spacecraft Phoenix heads for Mars, the mission's success rests in part on the work of a 21-year-old St. Louis college student. Weather permitting, NASA tomorrow will launch its Phoenix Mission. It is expected to land on the Red Planet's northern plains in May. A team at Washington University in St. Louis played a key role in determining the landing spot, no easy task on a planet known for its rocky terrain. For senior Tabatha Heet of Jefferson City, the work wasn't as glamorous as it sounds. Her contribution largely involved counting rocks, a pivotal but painstaking duty. A rocky landing could cause the Phoenix to tilt or tip over. Also, large rocks could prevent the unfurling of the solar panels that power the craft.

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