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Latest Lander Stories

2008-08-01 00:00:02

By Ben Clover NASA HAS confirmed that the Phoenix Mars Lander has identified one of the crucial ingredients for life in a soil sample. "We have water," said William Boynton of the University of Arizona, one of the lead scientists monitoring the mission, . "We've now finally touched it and tasted it. From my standpoint, it tastes very fine." Scientists popped open champagne when they received confirmation that the soil contained ice. Until now, evidence of ice in Mars's north pole region...

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2008-07-28 20:35:00

Scientists and engineers on NASA's Phoenix Mars Mission spent the weekend examining how the icy soil on Mars interacts with the scoop on the lander's robotic arm, while trying different techniques to deliver a sample to one of the instruments. "It has really been a science experiment just learning how to interact with the icy soil on Mars -- how it reacts with the scoop, its stickiness, whether it's better to have it in the shade or the sunlight," said Phoenix Principal Investigator Peter...

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2008-07-27 19:50:00

NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander's robotic arm will use a revised collection-and-delivery sequence overnight Sunday with the goal of depositing an icy soil sample in the lander's oven. "We are going to modify the process we ran on Sol 60 to acquire another icy sample and attempt to deliver it to TEGA," the Thermal and Evolved-Gas Analyzer, said Barry Goldstein, Phoenix project manager from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "We will repeat what we did successfully with small...

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2008-07-23 16:30:00

The latest activities of NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander have moved the mission closer to analyzing a sample of material, possibly icy soil, from a hard layer at the bottom of a shallow trench beside the lander. Overnight Tuesday to Wednesday, during Phoenix's 57th Martian day, or sol, since landing, Phoenix used its robotic arm to scrape the top of the hard layer in the trench informally named "Snow White." The Phoenix team prepared commands to send to the spacecraft Wednesday telling it to take...

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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...


Word of the Day
jument
  • A beast of burden; also, a beast in general.
'Jument' ultimately comes from the Latin 'jugum,' yoke.
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