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Latest Lander Stories

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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...

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2008-07-04 13:15:00

News Flash: On 4th of July weekend, NASA forecasts lights in the sky. No, not those lights. Look beyond the fireworks. Almost halfway up the western sky, just above the twilight glow of sunset, a trio of worlds is gathering: Saturn, Mars and the crescent Moon. The show gets going on Friday, July 4th. Red Mars and ringed Saturn converge just to the left of the bright star Regulus. The three lights make a pretty 1st-magnitude line in the heavens: sky map. But that is just the beginning. On...

2008-07-02 18:00:05

The U.S. space agency says the next sample of Martian soil to be analyzed by the Phoenix Mars Lander might be its last. A team of National Aeronautics and Space Administration engineers and scientists who assessed the spacecraft's Thermal and Evolved-Gas Analyzer, or TEGA, after a short circuit was discovered last month has concluded another short circuit could occur when the oven is again used. Since there is no way to assess the probability of another short circuit occurring, we are...

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2008-07-02 14:56:21

The next sample delivered to NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander's Thermal and Evolved-Gas Analyzer (TEGA) will be ice-rich. A team of engineers and scientists assembled to assess TEGA after a short circuit was discovered in the instrument has concluded that another short circuit could occur when the oven is used again. "Since there is no way to assess the probability of another short circuit occurring, we are taking the most conservative approach and treating the next sample to TEGA as possibly our...

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2008-07-01 15:35:27

NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander enlarged the "Snow White" trench and scraped up little piles of icy soil on Saturday, June 28, the 33rd Martian day, or sol, of the mission. Scientists say that the scrapings are ideal for the lander's analytical instruments. The robotic arm on Phoenix used the blade on its scoop to make 50 scrapes in the icy layer buried under subsurface soil. The robotic arm then heaped the scrapings into a few 10- to 20-cubic centimeter piles, or piles each containing between two...

2008-06-24 12:00:57

The U.S. space agency said its Phoenix Mars Lander was ready to conduct a microscopic analysis of Martian soil Thursday -- the 29th day of the mission. The soil was to undergo examination under the lander's optical microscope, with Phoenix's robotic arm to deliver some of that same scoop of soil for the first wet chemistry experiment on Mars. That experiment is to be conducted later this week. National Aeronautics and Space Administration scientists made a diagnostic test run Monday that...

2008-06-24 02:29:15

By Alicia Chang LOS ANGELES - Bizarre microbes flourish in the most punishing environments on Earth from the bone-dry Atacama Desert in Chile to the boiling hot springs of Yellowstone National Park to the sunless sea bottom vents in the Pacific. Could such exotic life emerge in the frigid arctic plains of Mars? NASA's Phoenix spacecraft could soon find out. Since plopping down near the Martian north pole a month ago, the three-legged lander has been busy poking its long arm into the...


Word of the Day
cruet
  • A vial or small glass bottle, especially one for holding vinegar, oil, etc.; a caster for liquids.
This word is Middle English in origin, and ultimately comes from the Old French, diminutive of 'crue,' flask.
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