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Latest Viking program Stories

2008-08-06 09:00:48

By Alicia Chang Associated Press LOS ANGELES -- Traces of a rocket fuel ingredient found in the Martian soil would not necessarily hinder potential life, mission scientists said Tuesday. NASA's Phoenix spacecraft earlier this month detected the chemical perchlorate, a highly oxidizing salt, in soil samples dug up from near the Martian surface. On Earth, it can be found naturally in the arid Atacama Desert in Chile where some extreme organisms use it as a source of energy. "We know that...

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2008-06-28 11:45:00

NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander scraped to icy soil in the "Wonderland" area on Thursday, June 26, confirming that surface soil, subsurface soil and icy soil can be sampled at a single trench. Phoenix scientists are now assured they have a complete soil-layer profile in Wonderland's "Snow White" extended trench. By rasping to icy soil, the robotic arm on Phoenix proved it could flatten the layer where soil meets ice, exposing the icy flat surface below the soil. Scientists can now proceed with...

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...

2008-06-14 09:00:00

NASA's Phoenix probe scraped the frigid Martian ground with its robotic arm on Friday and revealed what looks like a layer of ice or perhaps bright salt just beneath the red soil. The lander also sent back its first microscopic pictures gathered from a scoopful of Martian soil, showing a mix of tiny red particles, minerals and glassy volcanic sand. The findings suggest that Phoenix has landed in a good place to carry out its scientific mission of detailing the history of water and...

2008-06-14 00:00:04

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Phoenix probe scraped the frigid Martian ground with its robotic arm on Friday and revealed what looks like a layer of ice or perhaps bright salt just beneath the red soil. The lander also sent back its first microscopic pictures gathered from a scoopful of Martian soil, showing a mix of tiny red particles, minerals and glassy volcanic sand. The findings suggest that Phoenix has landed in a good place to carry out its scientific mission...

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2008-06-13 18:10:00

TUCSON, Ariz. -- New observations from NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander provide the most magnified view ever seen of Martian soil, showing particles clumping together even at the smallest visible scale. In the past two days, two instruments on the lander deck -- a microscope and a bake-and-sniff analyzer -- have begun inspecting soil samples delivered by the scoop on Phoenix's Robotic Arm. "This is the first time since the Viking missions three decades ago that a sample is being studied inside an...

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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...

2008-05-25 15:39:41

This story was updated at 5:46 p.m. EDT. PASADENA, Calif. – Excitement and nerves are both running high among NASA scientists as they prepare for the Phoenix Mars Lander's planned Sunday arrival at the red planet, mission scientists said today. The spacecraft is still in good shape and on track as it nears the finish line of its 422 million-mile (679 million km) trek to the Martian arctic. "Well this is exciting, a very exciting day," said Doug McCuistion, director...

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2008-05-25 19:05:00

NASA's Phoenix Lander settled onto the frozen plains surrounding the unexplored Martian north pole on Sunday, ending a 10-month journey from Earth with a harrowing descent, slowed by parachute and braking rockets. Signals confirming the three-legged spacecraft's arrival reached NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory at 6:53 p.m. CDT, unleashing a chorus of cheers and hugs from an anxious squad of flight controllers. The blue-and-gold lander is the cornerstone of a $457 million mission designed to...

2008-05-23 23:09:44

When NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander sets down in the Martian arctic on Sunday, it will open a new, icy frontier for scientists back on Earth. Phoenix, a stationary lander set to make a planned May 25 descent to the Martian surface, is going to where no probe has gone before - the northern plains of Vastitas Borealis on Mars. "Ten years ago, you wouldn't have chosen this spot at all because it looks just like every other part of Mars," said Phoenix principal investigator Peter Smith...


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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