Phoenix Rasps Frozen Layer, Collects Sample

July 16, 2008
This image, taken by NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander's Surface Stereo Imager on Sol 50, or the 50th day of the mission, July 15, 2008, shows two holes at the top created by the lander's Robotic Arm's motorized rasp tool. Image: NASA

(PhysOrg.com) -- 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 named "Snow White." The material loosened by the rasp was collected in the scoop and documented by the Robotic Arm Camera. The activity was a test of the rasping method of gathering an icy sample, in preparation for using that method in coming days to collect a sample for analysis in an oven of Phoenix's Thermal and Evolved-Gas Analyzer.

"This was a trial that went really well," said Richard Morris, a Phoenix science team member from NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston. "While the putative ice sublimed out of the shavings over several hours, this shows us there will be a good chance ice will remain in a sample for delivery" to Phoenix's laboratory ovens.

Phoenix on Wednesday will be commanded to continue scraping and enlarging the "Snow White" trench and to conduct another series of rasp tests. The lander's cameras will again be used to monitor the sample in the scoop after its collection.

Provided by NASA

Explore further: Next Mars Soil Scoop Slated for Last of Lander's Wet Lab Cells

Related Stories

Phoenix Revises Method to Deliver Icy Sample

July 28, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander's robotic arm will use a revised collection-and-delivery sequence overnight Sunday with the goal of depositing an icy soil sample in the lander's oven.

Trench on Mars Ready for Next Sampling by NASA Lander

July 24, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander has groomed the bottom of a shallow trench to prepare for collecting a sample to be analyzed from a hard subsurface layer where the soil may contain frozen water.

Phoenix Mars Lander Continues Tests With Rasp

July 18, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- 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.

Phoenix Mars Lander Extending Trench

July 15, 2008

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.

Sample-Collection Tests by Phoenix Lander Continue

July 9, 2008

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, or TEGA.

Recommended for you

Ceres image: The lonely mountain

August 25, 2015

NASA's Dawn spacecraft spotted this tall, conical mountain on Ceres from a distance of 915 miles (1,470 kilometers).

New Horizons team selects potential Kuiper Belt flyby target

August 29, 2015

NASA has selected the potential next destination for the New Horizons mission to visit after its historic July 14 flyby of the Pluto system. The destination is a small Kuiper Belt object (KBO) known as 2014 MU69 that orbits ...

Dawn spacecraft sends sharper scenes from Ceres

August 25, 2015

The closest-yet views of Ceres, delivered by NASA's Dawn spacecraft, show the small world's features in unprecedented detail, including Ceres' tall, conical mountain; crater formation features and narrow, braided fractures.

6 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Mombo_Dogface
3 / 5 (2) Jul 16, 2008
Is the Phoenix Lander mobile at all? It doesn't seem so.
holmstar
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 16, 2008
no it is not.
Mercury_01
3 / 5 (2) Jul 16, 2008
Whens the big new coming on all the remaining data?
DoctorKnowledge
3.5 / 5 (2) Jul 17, 2008
Right, it's not mobile. It's cheaper that way. And to quote the official site: "The Phoenix lander is going to an area of Mars where water is believed to exist in the form of ice just below the surface. This water ice is probably spread fairly uniformly throughout the northern plains so the lander should be able to uncover ice wherever it lands." http://phoenix.lp.../faq.php
There's a lot of interesting info, there.
out7x
1 / 5 (2) Jul 17, 2008
How deep did it drill? Is there intelligent life on earth?
runninglate
not rated yet Jul 17, 2008
Is there intelligent life on earth?


lol. no.

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.