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Latest Lander Stories

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2008-07-22 20:35:00

Phoenix early Tuesday finished its longest work shift of the mission. The lander stayed awake for 33 hours, completing tasks that included rasping and scraping by the robotic arm, in addition to atmosphere observations in coordination with simultaneous observations by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. "Our rasping test yesterday gave us enough confidence that we're now planning for the next use of the rasp to be for acquiring a sample to be delivered to TEGA," said Phoenix project manager...

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2008-07-22 20:28:43

Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano visited the Phoenix mission Science Operations Center at The University of Arizona Monday to see how NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander was progressing. UA's Peter Smith, Phoenix principal investigator, showed Napolitano panoramic images taken by the Surface Stereo Imager (SSI) on the lander. The panoramas were projected onto five adjacent screens that displayed the images 11 feet tall and 70 feet wide. Smith said that seeing the large-sized images made a big impression...

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2008-07-21 19:25:00

To coordinate with observations made by an orbiter flying repeatedly overhead, NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander is working a schedule Monday that includes staying awake all night for the first time. Phoenix is using its weather station, stereo camera and conductivity probe to monitor changes in the lower atmosphere and ground surface at the same time NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter studies the atmosphere and ground from above. The lander's fork-like thermal and conductivity probe was inserted...

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2008-07-18 13:10:00

The team operating NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander plans to tell the lander today to do a second, larger test of using a motorized rasp to produce and gather shavings of frozen ground. The planned test is a preparation for putting a similar sample into one of Phoenix's laboratory ovens in coming days. The instrument with the oven, the Thermal and Evolved- Gas Analyzer (TEGA), will be used to check whether the hard layer exposed in a shallow trench is indeed rich in water ice, as scientists...

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2008-07-16 15:00:00

TUCSON, Ariz. -- A powered rasp on the back of the robotic arm scoop of NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander successfully drilled into the frozen soil and loosened material that was collected in the lander's scoop. Images and data sent from Phoenix early Wednesday indicated the shaved material in the scoop had changed slightly over time during the hours after it was collected. The motorized rasp -- located on the back of the lander's robotic arm scoop -- made two distinct holes in a trench informally...

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2008-07-15 19:20:00

TUCSON, Ariz. -- A powered rasp on the back of the robotic arm scoop of NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander is being tested for the first time on Mars in gathering sample shavings of ice. The lander has used its arm in recent days to clear away loose soil from a subsurface layer of hard-frozen material and create a large enough area to use the motorized rasp in a trench informally named "Snow White." The Phoenix team prepared commands early Tuesday for beginning a series of tests with the rasp later...

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2008-07-15 08:20:00

A larger patch of dark icy soil is being sought for sampling. NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander is using its robotic arm to enlarge an exposure of hard subsurface material expected to yield a sample of ice-rich soil for analysis in one of the lander's ovens. The trench was about 20 by 30 centimeters (8 by 12 inches) after work by the arm on Saturday. The team sent commands today to extend the longer dimension by about 15 centimeters (6 inches). Experiments with a near-duplicate of the lander in at...

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2008-07-10 13:00:00

Scientists running the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment, known as HiRISE, on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have processed more details in an amazing image their camera captured as the Phoenix spacecraft descended through Mars' atmosphere during its landing on May 25, 2008. New analysis has turned up what likely is Phoenix's heat shield falling toward Mars' surface, they conclude. HiRISE, run from The University of Arizona, made history by taking the first image of a spacecraft...

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2008-07-10 07:30:00

NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander's science and engineering teams are testing methods to get an icy sample into the Robotic Arm scoop for delivery to the Thermal and Evolved Gas Analyzer (TEGA). Ray Arvidson of Washington University in St. Louis, Phoenix's "dig czar," said the hard Martian surface that Phoenix has reached proved to be a difficult target, comparing the process to scraping a sidewalk. "We have three tools on the scoop to help access ice and icy soil," Arvidson said. "We can scoop...

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2008-07-09 14:03:01

NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander used its Robotic Arm to deliver a second sample of soil for analysis by the spacecraft's wet chemistry laboratory, data received from Phoenix on Sunday night confirmed. Results from testing this sample will be compared in coming days to the results from the first Martian soil analyzed by the wet chemistry laboratory two weeks ago. That laboratory is part of Phoenix's Microscopy, Electrochemistry and Conductivity Analyzer. The main activity on the lander's schedule...


Word of the Day
endocarp
  • The hard inner (usually woody) layer of the pericarp of some fruits (as peaches or plums or cherries or olives) that contains the seed.
This word comes from the Greek 'endon,' in, within, plus the Greek 'karpos', fruit.
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