Radio signals from the Martian surface indicating the successful landing of NASA’s unmanned Phoenix probe near the north pole of Mars. (To put this feat in perspective: the past several unmanned probes to land safely on Mars used a “bouncing airbag” approach; the last time a lander actually made it to the surface intact with braking thrusters and landing pads – and no airbags – was in 1976, when NASA’s Viking 1 and 2 landers successfully touched down on the planet.) The first stationary (i.e. non-rover) Mars lander since the Viking probes of the 1970s, Phoenix will stay in one spot to conduct three months of studies. Also like the Vikings, Phoenix has a soil-sampling arm and an on-board laboratory to help it determine the presence of water or water ice in its polar vicinity.