The trench was about 20 by 30 centimeters (8 by 12 inches) after work by the arm on Saturday. The team sent commands yesterday to extend the longer dimension by about 15 centimeters (6 inches).
Experiments with a near-duplicate of the lander in Tucson during the past week indicate that the bigger surface is needed to allow steps planned for collecting an icy sample from the Martian trench informally named "Snow White."
"Right now, there is not enough real estate of dark icy soil in the trench to do a sample acquisition test and later a full-up acquisition" for the Thermal and Evolved-Gas Analyzer, said Ray Arvidson, Phoenix's "dig czar," from Washington University in St. Louis. The arm's rasp will kick the icy soil into the scoop through a special capture mechanism, and scientists also want to scoop up any loose material left in the trench from the rasping activity, Arvidson said.
Samples of shallower, non-icy soil from the Snow White trench have already been examined in Phoenix's wet chemistry laboratory and optical microscope, and a fork-like probe has checked how well nearby soil conducts electricity and heat.
"The Phoenix science team is working diligently to analyze the results of the tests from these various instruments," said Phoenix principal investigator Peter Smith of The University of Arizona. "The preliminary signatures we are seeing are intriguing. Before we release results, we want to verify that our interpretations are correct by conducting laboratory tests."As the Robotic Arm was extracting the fork-like conductivity probe from the soil on Saturday, the arm contacted a rock called "Alice," near the "Snow White"
trenching area. The arm is programmed to stop activity when it encounters an obstacle. The team assessed the arm's status on Sunday and decided to resume use of the arm on Monday. Yesterday's commands called for the Robotic Arm to move away from the rock, dump out soil that is in the scoop and extend the Snow White trench approximately 15 centimeters (6 inches) toward the lander.
The Phoenix mission is led by Smith of the UA with project management at JPL and development partnership at Lockheed Martin, Denver. International contributions come from the Canadian Space Agency; the University of Neuchatel; the universities of Copenhagen and Aarhus, Denmark; Max Planck Institute, Germany; and the Finnish Meteorological Institute. For more about Phoenix, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/phoenix and http://phoenix.lpl.arizona.edu.
MEDIA CONTACTS:Guy Webster, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation
19.01.2018 | Carnegie Institution for Science
Artificial agent designs quantum experiments
19.01.2018 | Universität Innsbruck
On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.
We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.
Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...
08.01.2018 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences
19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine
19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy