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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 18:55:00

NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander has touched Martian soil with a fork-like probe for the first time and begun using a microscope that examines shapes of tiny particles by touching them. Phoenix's robotic arm pushed the fork-like probe's four spikes into undisturbed soil Tuesday as a validation test of the insertion procedure. The prongs of this thermal and electrical conductivity probe are about 1.5 centimeters, or half an inch, long. The science team will use the probe tool to assess how easily...

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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...

2008-07-08 12:00:10

The U.S. space agency says its Phoenix Lander has used its robotic arm to deliver another sample of Martian soil for analysis by the spacecraft's laboratory. National Aeronautics and Space Administration scientists said test results from the new sample will be compared in coming days with 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 Phoenix...

2008-07-04 09:00:12

By AARON MACKEY A historic chemistry test of Mars' arctic surface suggests the red planet is capable of supporting plants and microscopic life, though scientists with the UA-led Phoenix Mars lander were careful to qualify their initial findings Thursday. At the least, though, the test shows that Mars' arctic dirt is a lot like fertile soil in people's backyards and could be well- suited to grow such vegetables as asparagus. Calling it the first-ever wet chemistry test of another...


Word of the Day
vermicular
  • Like a worm in form or movement; vermiform; tortuous or sinuous; also, writhing or wriggling.
  • Like the track or trace of a worm; appearing as if worm-eaten; vermiculate.
  • Marked with fine, close-set, wavy or tortuous lines of color; vermiculated.
  • A form of rusticated masonry which is so wrought as to appear thickly indented with worm-tracks.
This word ultimately comes from the Latin 'vermis,' worm.
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