Lounge shows love to Lander

Eric Schwartz

The Mars Phoenix Lander mission will have its own temporary lounge so the UA community can monitor its path as it cruises toward and finally lands on Mars next year.

The Mars Lounge, to reside in the Student Union Memorial Center, is an eight-month home for the various images and presentations showcasing the mission and Mars in general from the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory’s Space Imagery Center.

An opening ceremony for the lounge will take place during Family Weekend this Sunday at 1 p.m. in the SUMC.

The Arizona

It will show off what we’re up to in the Mars business.

-Peter Smith, Mars lander principal investigator

Student Unions and the UA Alumni Association donated the lounge’s space, which was previously known as the Alumni Heritage Lounge.

Pictures from the HiRISE camera, the gamma ray spectrometer and of the camera’s launch, will adorn the walls of the new lounge, scheduled to be open at least through June, said Colleen Lester, associate to the vice president for external relations.

The lounge has been planned since spring, she added.

“”It will show off what we’re up to in the Mars business,”” said Peter Smith, principal investigator for the mission. Smith will be on hand to cut the ribbon and unveil a clock that counts down to the scheduled May 25 landing.

Lester said she expects the lounge “”to draw lots of people.””

After the ceremony, light refreshments will be available.

Lester said plans are in works for an event surrounding the landing.

Smith said he it would be “”a great idea”” to have a television in the lounge to showcase what is happening on Mars at that moment.

“”Mars excites people,”” Lester said.