More Soil Delivered to Phoenix Lander Lab

September 17, 2008
More Soil Delivered to Phoenix Lander Lab
This image, taken by NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander's Surface Stereo Imager, documents the delivery of a soil sample from the "Snow White" trench to the Wet Chemistry Laboratory. A small pile of soil is visible on the lower edge of the second cell from the top. This deck-mounted lab is part of Phoenix's Microscopy, Electrochemistry and Conductivity Analyzer (MECA). The delivery was made on Sept. 12, 2008, which was Sol 107 (the 107th Martian day) of the mission, which landed on May 25, 2008. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/Texas A&M University)

Scientists working on the Phoenix Mars Mission are analyzing soil delivered to the spacecraft's Wet Chemistry Laboratory.

Preliminary analysis of this soil confirms that it is alkaline, and composed of salts and other chemicals such as perchlorate, sodium, magnesium, chloride and potassium.

This information validates prior results from that same location, said Michael Hecht of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., the lead scientist for the Microscopy, Electrochemistry and Conductivity Analyzer, or MECA.

The Wet Chemistry Laboratory mixes Martian soil with an aqueous solution from Earth as part of a process to identify soluble nutrients and other chemicals in the soil.

In the coming days, the Phoenix team will also fill the final four of eight single-use ovens on another soil-analysis instrument, the Thermal and Evolved Gas Analyzer, or TEGA. The team's strategy is to deliver as many samples as possible before the power produced by Phoenix's solar panels declines due to the end of the Martian summer.

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.

Provided by NASA

Explore further: NASA confirms evidence that liquid water flows on today's Mars (Update)

Related Stories

Phoenix Lander Winds Up Its Astonishing Summer On Mars

November 25, 2008

( -- Mars has slipped far enough behind the sun today that signals from Mars-orbiting spacecraft are effectively blocked until mid-December. This solar conjunction happens every two years.

Recommended for you

Hubble captures a galactic waltz

November 26, 2015

This curious galaxy—only known by the seemingly random jumble of letters and numbers 2MASX J16270254+4328340—has been captured by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope dancing the crazed dance of a galactic merger. The ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

3.7 / 5 (3) Sep 17, 2008
1 / 5 (1) Sep 18, 2008
And now we know more about martian soil than we did before. Its science... this is a science news site.
not rated yet Sep 18, 2008
And now we know more about martian soil than we did before. Its science... this is a science news site.

Actually we already knew what the results would be. That information is in the article.

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.