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Latest Lander Stories

2008-06-09 22:25:32

Scientists ran into a snag when trying to deliver a sample of Martian arctic soil to one of the instruments on NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander, mission controllers said on Saturday. The lander's robotic arm released a handful of clumpy Martian soil onto a screened opening of the Thermal and Evolved-Gas Analyzer (TEGA) on Friday, but the instrument did not confirm that any of the sample passed through the screen. Images taken on Friday show soil resting on the screen over an open...

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2008-06-08 19:00:00

TUCSON, Ariz. -- The arm of NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander released a handful of clumpy Martian soil onto a screened opening of a laboratory instrument on the spacecraft Friday, but the instrument did not confirm that any of the sample passed through the screen. Engineers and scientists on the Phoenix team assembled at the University of Arizona are determining the best approach to get some of that material into the instrument. Meanwhile, the team has developed commands for the spacecraft to use...

2008-06-06 17:40:51

NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander successfully scooped up a sample of Martian soil with its robotic arm, mission scientists said on Friday. The scoop is poised and ready to deliver the sample to an instrument on the spacecraft that will analyze the soil. "This is really an important occasion for us, to be poised to make a measurement for the first time of the Martian arctic soil," said Phoenix principal investigator Peter Smith of the University of Arizona. The $420...

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2008-06-06 10:00:00

NASA scientists said on Thursday that the Phoenix lander, in its search for signs of life on Mars, has returned the highest-resolution pictures ever taken of dust and sand on the surface of another planet.The $420-million craft touched down May 25 on the arctic circle of Mars after a 10-month, 420-million-mile (680-million-km) journey from Earth.An optical microscope took the pictures, revealing particles"”some as small as one-tenth the diameter of a human hair"”that were...

2008-06-05 07:40:08

NASA scientists delayed the Phoenix Mars Lander's sample gathering for one sol, or Martian day, they announced on Tuesday, in order to practice moving the craft's robotic arm and to deal with a slight glitch with one of the lander's instruments. The mission team performed an initial "dig and dump" with the lander's robotic arm scoop on Sunday, which Phoenix principal investigator Peter Smith described as "sort of what a child does on the beach with their sand pail and shovel."...

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2008-06-04 17:50:00

Two practice rounds of digging and dumping the clumpy soil at the Martian arctic site this week gave scientists and engineers gathered at The University of Arizona confidence to begin using Phoenix's Robotic Arm to deliver soil samples to instruments on the lander deck. Those samples will not be collected before Thursday. Following Wednesday's briefing on the mission, the Phoenix team learned that NASA's Odyssey orbiter, which relays Phoenix data to and from Earth, had entered a "safe...

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2008-06-04 09:33:25

Engineers and scientists operating NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander decided early yesterday to repeat a practice of releasing Martian soil from the scoop on the lander's Robotic Arm.When the lander collected and released its first scoopful of soil on Sunday, some of the sample stuck to the scoop. The team told Phoenix this morning to lift another surface sample and release it, with more extensive imaging of the steps in the process."We are proceeding cautiously," said Phoenix Principal Investigator...

2008-06-01 07:31:14

NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander may have already caught its first glimpse of Martian ice less than a week after arriving at its new red planet home. New images released Saturday reveal what could be a patch of exposed ice beneath the Phoenix lander, mission managers said in an announcement today. Phoenix beamed the images back to Earth late Friday from its Vastitas Borealis landing site in the northern polar region of Mars after using a robotic arm-mounted camera to peer beneath its...

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2008-05-29 15:15:00

TUCSON, Ariz. - NASA's Mars lander is returning more detailed images from the Martian surface and is now preparing its instruments for science operations. Phoenix transmitted a 360-degree panorama of its frigid Martian world, freed its nearly 8-foot robotic arm, tested a laser instrument for studying dust and clouds, and transmitted its second weather report on Wednesday evening. "We've imaged the entire landing site, all 360 degrees of it. We see it all," said Phoenix principal...

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2008-05-28 14:20:00

Scientists leading NASA's Phoenix Mars mission from the University of Arizona in Tucson sent commands to unstow its robotic arm and take more images of its landing site early today. The Phoenix lander sent back new sharp color images from Mars late yesterday. Phoenix imaging scientists made a color mosaic of images taken by the lander's Surface Stereo Imager on landing day, May 25, and the first two full "sols," or Martian days, after landing. The panorama, now about one-third complete,...


Word of the Day
malpais
  • The ragged surface of a lava-flow.
'Malpais' translates from Spanish as 'bad land.'