NASA Mars Phoenix Lander Delivers Soil-Chemistry Sample


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Phoenix Mars Lander used its robotic arm to deliver a second sample of soil for analysis by the spacecraft's wet chemistry laboratory, data received from Phoenix on Sunday night confirmed.

Test results will be compared in coming days to the results from the first Martian soil analyzed by the wet chemistry laboratory two weeks ago. That laboratory is part of Phoenix's Microscopy, Electrochemistry and Conductivity Analyzer.

The main activity on the lander's schedule for today is testing a method for scraping up a sample of icy material and getting it into the scoop at the end of the robotic arm. Photography before, during and after the process will allow evaluation of this method. If the test goes well, the science team plans to use this method for gathering the next sample to be delivered to Phoenix's bake-and-sniff instrument, the Thermal and Evolved-Gas Analyzer.

The Phoenix mission is led by Peter Smith of The University of Arizona with project management at JPL and development partnership at Lockheed Martin, located in Denver. International contributions come from the Canadian Space Agency; the University of Neuchatel, Switzerland; the universities of Copenhagen and Aarhus, Denmark; Max Planck Institute, Germany; and the Finnish Meteorological Institute.

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