Phoenix Lander Leaves 'Footprints' on Mars

Jun 02, 2008
Phoenix's 'Footprints' on Mars
This view from the Surface Stereo Imager on NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander shows the first impression –- dubbed Yeti and shaped like a wide footprint -- made on the Martian soil by the robotic arm scoop on Sol 6, the sixth Martian day of the mission, (May 31, 2008). Touching the ground is the first step toward scooping up soil and ice and delivering the samples to the lander's onboard experiments. 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. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander reached out and touched the Martian soil for the first time on Saturday, May 31, the first step in a series of actions expected to bring soil and ice to the lander's experiments.

The lander's Robotic Arm scoop left an impression that resembles a footprint at a place provisionally named Yeti in the King of Hearts target zone, away from the area that eventually will be sampled for evaluation.

The impression in the soil was captured by Phoenix's Stereo Surface Imager. Features and locations around the Phoenix lander are being named for fairy tale and mythological characters.

"This first touch allows us to utilize the Robotic Arm accurately. We are in a good situation for the upcoming sample acquisition and transfer," said David Spencer, Phoenix's surface mission manager from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

Phoenix's Robotic Arm Camera also took a number of images of the "Snow Queen" site of what is believed to be exposed ice under the lander.

"What we see in the images is in agreement with the notion that it may be ice, and we suspect we will see the same thing in the digging area," said Uwe Keller, Robotic Arm Camera lead scientist from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany.

Source: NASA

Explore further: First-of-its-kind NASA space-weather project

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Imager sends ultra high-res photo from Mars

Oct 09, 2013

(Phys.org) —An instrument aboard NASA's Curiosity rover has sent back to scientists on Earth an ultra high-resolution image of a penny the rover carried to Mars.

Mars Icebreaker Life mission

May 16, 2013

Missions to Mars have only scratched its surface. To go deeper, scientists are proposing a spacecraft that can drill into the Red Planet to potentially find signs of life.

Engineers building hard-working mining robot

Jan 29, 2013

(Phys.org)—After decades of designing and operating robots full of scientific gear to study other worlds, NASA is working on a prototype that leaves the delicate instruments at home in exchange for a sturdy ...

Recommended for you

Habitable exoplanets are bad news for humanity

1 hour ago

Last week, scientists announced the discovery of Kepler-186f, a planet 492 light years away in the Cygnus constellation. Kepler-186f is special because it marks the first planet almost exactly the same size as Earth ...

First-of-its-kind NASA space-weather project

17 hours ago

A NASA scientist is launching a one-to-two-year pilot project this summer that takes advantage of U.S. high-voltage power transmission lines to measure a phenomenon that has caused widespread power outages ...

How many moons does Venus have?

Apr 23, 2014

There are dozens upon dozens of moons in the Solar System, ranging from airless worlds like Earth's Moon to those with an atmosphere (most notably, Saturn's Titan). Jupiter and Saturn have many moons each, ...

User comments : 3

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

zbarlici
4.5 / 5 (2) Jun 02, 2008
when they finally send humans to the moon or Mars, i wonder what name they will give to the first poop left on the planet surface...?
aussiecarter
3.7 / 5 (3) Jun 02, 2008
perhaps a less intelligible alien tribe will keep it as an artifact of worship.
Mercury_01
not rated yet Jun 02, 2008
I was under the impression that this lander couldnt move. can it?

More news stories

Habitable exoplanets are bad news for humanity

Last week, scientists announced the discovery of Kepler-186f, a planet 492 light years away in the Cygnus constellation. Kepler-186f is special because it marks the first planet almost exactly the same size as Earth ...

Professional and amateur astronomers join forces

(Phys.org) —Long before the term "citizen science" was coined, the field of astronomy has benefited from countless men and women who study the sky in their spare time. These amateur astronomers devote hours ...

First-of-its-kind NASA space-weather project

A NASA scientist is launching a one-to-two-year pilot project this summer that takes advantage of U.S. high-voltage power transmission lines to measure a phenomenon that has caused widespread power outages ...