Phoenix: Exploring the Northern Polar Region of Mars
Peter Gluck


In 2003, instruments aboard the Mars Odyssey spacecraft detected high concentrations of hydrogen, presumably water, at the Martian poles. In keeping with NASA's "Follow the Water" strategy, the Phoenix Mars Lander Mission was conceived and dispatched to investigate the northern polar region of Mars. After nearly four years of development and ten months of interplanetary cruise, the Phoenix lander touched-down softly on Mars on May 25, 2008. Its suite of complex instruments must be coordinated precisely for successful observations. So, too, must the data relay from Mars be coordinated with the orbiters above. All of this coordination is the task of the command sequences and flight software which executes them autonomously. This talk provides an overview of the Phoenix Mars Lander Mission and a very high-level look at the software development that helped make it happen.


For four-and-a-half years Peter Gluck has served as the Project Software Systems Engineer for the Phoenix Mars Lander. As such, Peter was responsible for the successful procurement, implementation, and integration of all software, both flight and ground, across the project. Peter has been at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory for twenty-two years. During that time he has worked on the Magellan, Mars Observer, TOPEX, Cassini, Mars Pathfinder, Deep Space One, Spitzer Space Telescope, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and Mars Phoenix missions. Peter holds an M. S. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Southern California, and a B. S. in Mathematics from the California State University, Northridge.

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