Phoenix Revises Method to Deliver Icy Sample

Jul 28, 2008
This photograph from June 2008, shows the Robotic Arm on NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander carrying a scoop of Martian soil bound for the spacecraft's microscope. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

(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.

"We are going to modify the process we ran on Sol 60 to acquire another icy sample and attempt to deliver it to TEGA," the Thermal and Evolved-Gas Analyzer, said Barry Goldstein, Phoenix project manager from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "We will repeat what we did successfully with small modifications to adjust for what we learned."

The Sol 60 effort on July 26 by Phoenix successfully obtained a sample by rasping 16 holes into and scraping the work trench informally named "Snow White." Most of the sticky Martian soil adhered to the scoop even after the scoop was tipped and the rasp activated to help sprinkle soil into TEGA.

The revised plan includes reducing the length of time the rasp operates as it makes the holes in the trench to reduce any potential heating of the sample, and for increasing the number of times the scoop is vibrated during the sample delivery action.

Images received Sunday morning showed the soil collected on Sol 60 had fallen out of the scoop, which had been left inverted over the lander's deck.

Provided by NASA

Explore further: Sun emits a mid-level solar flare

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

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.

Curiosity rover: No big surprise in first soil test

Dec 03, 2012

(Phys.org)—NASA's Mars Curiosity rover has used its full array of instruments to analyze Martian soil for the first time, and found a complex chemistry within the Martian soil. Water and sulfur and chlorine-containing ...

NASA braces for 'terror' in Mars landing

Aug 02, 2012

The biggest, baddest space rover ever built for exploring an alien planet is nearing its August 6 landing on Mars, and the US space agency is anxious for success despite huge risks.

Recommended for you

Sun emits a mid-level solar flare

24 minutes ago

The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 9:03 a.m. EDT on April 18, 2014, and NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured images of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful ...

Impact glass stores biodata for millions of years

2 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Bits of plant life encapsulated in molten glass by asteroid and comet impacts millions of years ago give geologists information about climate and life forms on the ancient Earth. Scientists ...

The importance of plumes

3 hours ago

The Hubble Space Telescope is famous for finding black holes. It can pick out thousands of galaxies in a patch of sky the size of a thumbprint. The most powerful space telescope ever built, the Hubble provided ...

Ceres and Vesta Converge in Virgo

6 hours ago

Don't let them pass you by. Right now and continuing through July, the biggest and brightest asteroids will be running on nearly parallel tracks in the constellation Virgo and so close together they'll easily ...

A full-spectrum Mars simulation in a box

6 hours ago

There are many reasons why Mars excels at destroying expensive equipment. For one thing, its entire surface is made of partially-magnetized dust. For another, Mars possesses just enough atmosphere so that ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Sun emits a mid-level solar flare

The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 9:03 a.m. EDT on April 18, 2014, and NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured images of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful ...

Impact glass stores biodata for millions of years

(Phys.org) —Bits of plant life encapsulated in molten glass by asteroid and comet impacts millions of years ago give geologists information about climate and life forms on the ancient Earth. Scientists ...

Continents may be a key feature of Super-Earths

Huge Earth-like planets that have both continents and oceans may be better at harboring extraterrestrial life than those that are water-only worlds. A new study gives hope for the possibility that many super-Earth ...

LinkedIn membership hits 300 million

The career-focused social network LinkedIn announced Friday it has 300 million members, with more than half the total outside the United States.

Magnitude-7.2 earthquake shakes Mexican capital

A powerful magnitude-7.2 earthquake shook central and southern Mexico on Friday, sending panicked people into the streets. Some walls cracked and fell, but there were no reports of major damage or casualties.

Plants with dormant seeds give rise to more species

Seeds that sprout as soon as they're planted may be good news for a garden. But wild plants need to be more careful. In the wild, a plant whose seeds sprouted at the first warm spell or rainy day would risk disaster. More ...