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2008-09-23 07:25:00

If the robotic arm on NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander can nudge a rock aside today, scientists on the Phoenix team would like to see what's underneath. Engineers who develop commands for the robotic arm have prepared a plan to try displacing a rock on the north side of the lander. This rock, roughly the size and shape of a VHS videotape, is informally named "Headless." "We don't know whether we can do this until we try," said Ashitey Trebi Ollennu, a robotics engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion...

2008-09-20 12:15:00

What it's doing * The three-legged Phoenix spacecraft is studying whether the the Martian north pole could have been favorable for microbial life to emerge. How much? * The space agency will invest about $6 million to keep the $422 million mission going through December. Why it matters * Phoenix is the first craft to touch Martian ice with its robotic arm. It will turn into a weather station once its digging job is finished. (c) 2008 Charleston Daily Mail. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All...

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2008-09-18 13:42:53

The Phoenix Mars Lander's Surface Stereo Imager took this image of the spacecraft's crumpled heat shield on Sept. 16, 2008, the 111th Martian day of the mission. The 2-1/2 meter (about 8-1/2 feet) heat shield landed southeast of Phoenix, about halfway between the spacecraft and its backshell/parachute. The backshell/parachute touched ground 300 meters (1,000 ft) to the south of the lander. The dark area to the right of the heat shield is the "bounce mark" it made on impact with the Red...

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2008-09-12 08:55:00

NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander has photographed several dust devils dancing across the arctic plain this week and sensed a dip in air pressure as one passed near the lander. These dust-lofting whirlwinds had been expected in the area, but none had been detected in earlier Phoenix images. The Surface Stereo Imager camera on Phoenix took 29 images of the western and southwestern horizon on Sept. 8, during mid-day hours of the lander's 104th Martian day. The next day, after the images had been...

2008-09-10 18:00:25

The next soil sample the U.S. space agency's Phoenix Mars Lander obtains will go to the fourth of its four wet chemistry laboratory cells. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration said the source for that sample will be the "Snow White" trench on the eastern end of the area reachable with Phoenix's robotic arm. In July that trench yielded a sample that was found to contain water ice. The wet chemistry laboratory mixes Martian soil with purified water from Earth as part of the...

b56d6d0ba3bb137c29e05186f92bdb1f1
2008-09-10 07:55:00

The next soil sample that NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander will deliver to its deck instruments will go to the fourth of the four cells of Phoenix's wet chemistry laboratory, according to the Phoenix team's current plans. The chosen source for that sample is from the "Snow White" trench on the eastern end of the work area reachable with Phoenix's robotic arm. In July that trench yielded a sample in which another analytical instrument, the Thermal and Evolved Gas Analyzer (or TEGA), confirmed the...

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2008-09-09 15:10:00

The Robotic Arm Camera on NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander took this image on Sept. 1, 2008, at about 4 a.m. local solar time during the 97th Martian day, or sol, since landing. The view underneath the lander shows growth of the clumps adhering to leg strut (upper left) compared with what was present when a similar image was taken about three months earlier (see http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA10759). The view in this Sol 97 image is southward. Illumination is from the early morning sun...

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2008-09-04 18:40:00

TUCSON, Ariz. -- A fork-like conductivity probe has sensed humidity rising and falling beside NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander, but when stuck into the ground, its measurements so far indicate soil that is thoroughly and perplexingly dry. "If you have water vapor in the air, every surface exposed to that air will have water molecules adhere to it that are somewhat mobile, even at temperatures well below freezing," said Aaron Zent of NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., lead scientist...

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2008-09-02 08:10:00

Scientists have begun to analyze a sample of soil delivered to NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander's wet chemistry experiment from the deepest trench dug so far in the Martian arctic plains. Phoenix has also been observing movement of clouds overhead. The lander's robotic arm on Sunday sprinkled a small fraction of the estimated 50 cubic centimeters of soil that had been scooped up from the informally named "Stone Soup" trench on Saturday, the 95th day of the mission. The Stone Soup trench, in the...

2008-08-29 16:35:00

As the sun dips lower in the Martian sky with each passing day, NASA's solar-powered Phoenix Mars Lander took time this week to send a postcard of sorts to scientists on Earth after more than three months studying the red planet. Phoenix beamed home a view of its trench-filled worksite after surpassing the 90-day mark of its initial mission to hunt for water ice buried beneath the barren arctic plains of Mars. While the Martian days, or sols, are getting colder and the sun expected to dip...


Word of the Day
lunula
  • A small crescent-shaped structure or marking, especially the white area at the base of a fingernail that resembles a half-moon.
This word is a diminutive of the Latin 'luna,' moon.
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