Phoenix Vibrates Soil on Oven Door

June 9, 2008
Image NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/Max Planck Institute

This animation shows a sample of Martian soil resting on a screen over the opening to one of the eight ovens of the Thermal and Evolved-Gas Analyzer instrument on Phoenix. After vibration, the soil slumped almost imperceptibly downhill.

In both images of this before-and-after sequence, a sample of Martian soil rests on a screen over the opening to one of the eight ovens of the Thermal and Evolved-Gas Analyzer instrument (TEGA) on NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander. Between the times at which the lander's Robotic Arm Camera took these images during the mission's 14th Martian day after landing (June 8, 2008), TEGA vibrated the screen for about seven minutes.

The TEGA oven doors are on a surface sloping at about 45 degrees, with the top of the doors near the lower edge of these images. The downhill direction on this part of the instrument appears upwards in the image. The screen-covered opening for the oven intended to analyze this soil sample is between the vertically positioned door at the right end of the series of doors and the partially opened door to the left of that one.

The screen is covered with soil in this pair of images, but visible in a view from about the same angle taken before the soil was delivered, at . For scale, the doors are about 10 centimeters (4 inches) long.

The "before" image here is the one in which the circular feature near the top of the image is more brightly lit. In the image taken after about seven minutes of shaking, the soil resting on the screen has slumped almost imperceptibly downhill. A dark gap about 3 millimeters (one-tenth of an inch) wide opened at the top edge of the screen.

The Phoenix Mission is led by the University of Arizona, Tucson, on behalf of NASA. Project management of the mission is by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. Spacecraft development is by Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver.

Source: NASA

Explore further: UA Mars camera helped find landing spot, snaps photo of rover

Related Stories

Soil Studies Continue at Site of Phoenix Mars Lander

August 11, 2008

( -- NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander has continued studies of its landing site by widening a trench, making overnight measurements of conductivity in the Martian soil and depositing a sample of surface soil into a ...

Recommended for you

How to prepare for Mars? NASA consults Navy sub force

October 5, 2015

As NASA contemplates a manned voyage to Mars and the effects missions deeper into space could have on astronauts, it's tapping research from another outfit with experience sending people to the deep: the U.S. Navy submarine ...

Researchers find a new way to weigh a star

October 5, 2015

Researchers from the University of Southampton have developed a new method for measuring the mass of pulsars – highly magnetised rotating neutron stars formed from the remains of massive stars after they explode into supernovae.

NASA selects investigations for future key planetary mission

October 1, 2015

NASA has selected five science investigations for refinement during the next year as a first step in choosing one or two missions for flight opportunities as early as 2020. Three of those chosen have ties to NASA's Jet Propulsion ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Jun 09, 2008
So...? Did the soil get into the instrument or not? Is the oven working or not?
not rated yet Jun 09, 2008
Someone needs to give that thing a kick or use the digger arm to give it a shot or nudge. Damn this suspense is killing me.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.