Jun 10, 2008

Phoenix Lander struggles for Mars Soil

On Monday, NASA scientists struggled to process the soil that the Phoenix Mars Lander scooped out from the surface of planet Mars. Last week the Phoenix's robotic arm scraped its first, cup-sized sample from the planet's surface. But ever since scientists have been unable to get any of the clotted soil through a screen into the Phoenix Lander's Thermal Evolved Gas Analyzer (TEGA). According to them, Martian dirt was too clumpy to sift into the spacecraft's laboratory.

NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander is on a mission to search signs of water or signs of favorable conditions for life on Mars. This is an important mission for the humankind. So, the next step of NASA scientists would be to try again with a second scoop of soil, this time sprinkling a small amount onto the screen.

The Phoenix mission of NASA is led by Peter Smith at the University of Arizona with project management at JPL and development partnership at Lockheed Martin, Denver. International contributions for the mission 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. NASA


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