Presented is a photograph of the Phoenix Lander on Mars, signed and inscribed by Apollo 16 moonwalker Charlie Duke. In the inscription, Duke shares his thoughts of exploring the red planet as the next step in space exploration. Written in black felt tip, Duke writes in full, "The challenge of Mars is going to be tremendous! To think about going there and building a station on Mars is going to be a challenging endeavor and I think we can do it. The human spirit wants to go to Mars and go out and explore. It will be another small step for man and another giant leap for mankind! Charlie Duke, Apollo 11 Capcom, Apollo 16 Moonwalker."
The goals of the Phoenix Mars Lander were to study the history of water in the Martian arctic, search for evidence of a habitable zone, and assess the biological potential of the planet. Launched on August 4, 2007, the Phoenix landed at the northern pole of the red planet and studied the Martian soil. Phoenix completed its three-month mission in August of 2008; the lander worked for two additional months before reduced sunlight caused energy to become insufficient to keep the lander functioning.
Phoenix's study of Mars resulted in a long list of revolutionary discoveries about the planet. One of the most notable came on July 31, 2008, when the spacecraft confirmed the presence of water ice on Mars after successfully collecting a soil sample containing ice from a trench. The historic discovery marked the first time water was sampled on the Red Planet. The Phoenix also found snow, and was able to determine snow was part of the hydrological cycle on Mars.
Charles “Charlie” Duke was a fighter pilot, U.S. Air Force Officer, and astronaut. Duke served as Lunar Module Pilot during the Apollo 16 mission, aimed to answer broad questions about the Moon’s surface by inspecting sample materials, conducting experiments, and completing photographic tasks from lunar orbit. Duke was known even before he stepped foot on the Moon, as he was employed as a Mission Control specialist in Houston where the world heard Duke’s distinctive voice during the Apollo 11 Mission: “Roger, Twank...Tranquility, we copy you on the ground. You got a bunch of guys about to turn blue. We’re breathing again. Thanks a lot!” After Duke piloted Apollo 16, he stayed with NASA and remained the back-up pilot for Apollo 17. Duke retired in 1976 and earned the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, and the NASA Distinguished Service Medal.
Very good condition. Satin finish photograph. Inscription is in black felt tip pen. Inscription is legible and not smudged. Photograph Dimensions: 16"H x 20"W.
Framed according to highest archival standards with Conservation Clear UV Glass and a custom built wooden frame.
Framed dimensions: 17 1/2" H x 21 1/4" W x 1" D.