I have vague memories of watching the Apollo moon mission in 1969 at age 6. I remember my father sitting with me on the sofa and telling me how history was being made as we watched Neil Armstrong take his first step on the moon. Later, we watched in high anticipation during the radio silence awaiting re-entry followed by the splashdown at sea of the space capsule. So here I am, a dad myself, sitting in front of my computer watching live streaming video on the internet with my two kids telling them much the same thing. In case you just “tuned in”… the fun is just beginning at NASA as pictures and other data begin arriving from the Phoenix Mars Lander which just touched down this evening (May 25). Although such an event can feel like background news because it doesn’t seem nearly as extraordinary by today’s technological standards or cinematic simulations. Sometimes we just have to slap ourselves a bit though and remember that this is really another planet we just landed on… and it is truly anything but ordinary. The information gained from Mars’ geology and atmosphere will almost certainly prove invaluable as we study and compare our own planet in hopes of preserving its hospitability for humans many millennia from now. The very first pictures are up at: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/phoenix/main/index.html