NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander will enter the Martian atmosphere at hypersonic speeds. Friction will heat the forward-facing surface of the heat shield to a peak of about 1,420 degrees Celsius (2,600 degrees Fahrenheit) at an altitude of 41 kilometers (25.5 miles).
This artist's illustration is part of an animation that can be found at http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/phoenix/multimedia/animation.html .
The Phoenix Mission is led by the University of Arizona, Tucson, on behalf of NASA. Project management of the mission is by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. Spacecraft development is by Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona› Full Resolution› View Main Page