The Colorado–built Mars Phoenix Lander touched down on the red planet Sunday evening.
This is the first time in more than 30 years that NASA landed a spacecraft using retrorockets, instead of the usual air bag bubble bounce landing. The retrorockets allowed NASA to better pinpoint phoenix's landing location, which is closer to the polar ice cap than any other spacecraft has been.
The potential payoff could be confirmation that life once existed on Mars. Phoenix will dig deep into the martian ice and frozen soil, hoping that if anything lived or still lives on the harsh planet – it'll be closest to the water source.