The Phoenix Mars Lander has safely landed on the Red Planet. But getting there is only half the battle.
The probe landed in Mars' northern polar region, an area believed to hold a reservoir of ice beneath the surface. The NASA spacecraft is on a 90-day digging mission to study whether the area has the raw ingredients needed for life to emerge.
Mars exploration has followed a long and bumpy interplanetary road. There have been 38 separate missions to Mars, and more than half have failed. The latest mission — the Phoenix lander — marks the 39th journey. Here, highlights of these Earthly attempts to film, circle and touch the cold Red Planet.