The lander has used its arm in recent days to clear away loose soil from a subsurface layer of hard-frozen material and create a large enough area to use the motorized rasp in a trench informally named "Snow White."
The Phoenix team prepared commands early Tuesday for beginning a series of tests with the rasp later in the day. Engineers and scientists designed the tests to lead up to, in coming days, delivering a sample of icy soil into one of the lander's laboratory ovens."While Phoenix was in development, we added the rasp to the robotic arm design specifically to grind into very hard surface ice," said Barry Goldstein, Phoenix project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
"This is the exactly the situation we find we are facing on Mars, so we believe we have the right tool for the job. Honeybee Robotics in New York City did a heroic job of designing and delivering the rasp on a very short schedule."
The rasp bit extends at a shallow angle out of an opening on the back of the scoop at the end of the 2.35-meter-long (7.7-foot-long) robotic arm. To use it, the back surface of the scoop is placed on the ground, and a motor rotates the rasp. The angle of the rasp is increased from nearly horizontal to slightly steeper while it is rotating, so the tool kicks shavings sideways onto a collection surface just inside the opening. After the rasp stops, a series of moves by the scoop then shifts the collected shavings from the back of the scoop, past baffles, to the front of the scoop. The baffles serve to keep material from falling out of the rasp opening when the scoop is used as a front loader.
The commands prepared for Phoenix's activities Tuesday called for rasping into the hard material at the bottom of the Snow White trench at two points about one centimeter (0.4 inch) apart. The lander's Surface Stereo Imager and robotic arm camera will be used to check the process at several steps and to monitor any resulting sample in the scoop for several hours after it is collected.
Collecting an icy sample for an oven of Phoenix's Thermal and Evolved-Gas Analyzer (TEGA) may involve gathering shavings collected at the rasp opening and scooping up additional shavings produced by the rasp. The Phoenix team has been testing this combination on simulated Martian ice with a near-replica model of Phoenix in a test facility at the University of Arizona, Tucson.
The Phoenix mission is led by Peter Smith of the University of Arizona 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 818-354-6278
NASA's Fermi catches gamma-ray flashes from tropical storms
25.04.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
DGIST develops 20 times faster biosensor
24.04.2017 | DGIST (Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology)
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
25.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
25.04.2017 | Materials Sciences
25.04.2017 | Life Sciences