Rising from the Ashes.
What is a Phoenix?
A Phoenix is described as a legendary bird that lived for five or six centuries before it burned itself to a pyre and rose again from the ashes; symbolizing a rebirth or a regeneration. Across many cultures, a Phoenix bird is symbolic of a renewal, hope, inspiration and life.
According to the editors of Britannica, the Phoenix, in ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, was said to be “as large as an eagle, with brilliant scarlet and gold plumage and a melodious cry.” Britannica wrote, “Only one phoenix existed at any time, and it was very long-lived—no ancient authority gave it a life span of less than 500 years. As its end approached, the phoenix fashioned a nest of aromatic boughs and spices, set it on fire, and was consumed in the flames. From the pyre miraculously sprang a new phoenix.”
The Phoenix Mars Lander was the first mission chosen for NASA’s Scout program. The Martian lander was respectfully named after Phoenix, the resilient mythological bird of antiquity. The Phoenix mission represented a rebirth for the cancelled Mars Surveyor Lander of 2001 and the lost Mars Polar Lander. Built and configured with instruments from both landers, Phoenix embodied hope and continuance of Martian exploration.
When Phoenix launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, on Aug. 4, 2007, it symbolized the rebirth of Martian exploration. Principal Investigator Peter Smith of the University of Arizona stated that the noctilucent cloud formed by Phoenix’s launch created “what looked like wings and a beak and a long tail and looked amazingly just like a phoenix bird, the message to me was: Phoenix bird has risen! And it has.”