Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Mid-Depth Soil Collected for Lab Test on Phoenix Mars Lander

22.08.2008
NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander has scooped up a soil sample from an intermediate depth between the ground surface and a subsurface icy layer and delivered it to a laboratory oven on the spacecraft.

The robotic arm on Phoenix collected the sample, dubbed "Burning Coals," from a trench named "Burn Alive 3." In part of the trench, the arm had dug down to the hard, icy layer about 4 centimeters (1.6 inches) below the ground surface. Next to that deeper part, it left a bench of material about 1 centimeter (0.4 inch) above the icy layer, and then collected about one-fourth to one-half a teaspoon of loose soil from that benchtop into the scoop.

Early Thursday, downlinked information from Phoenix confirmed to the mission's science and engineering team that the arm had delivered some of that sample through the doors and almost completely filled cell number 7 of the lander's Thermal and Evolved-Gas Analyzer (TEGA).

TEGA won't begin heating an oven until it senses that oven is full. So the science team will command the oven door to close and the cell will begin heating the sample to low temperature, to 35 degrees Celsius, or 95 degrees Fahrenheit. TEGA scientists have successfully sent commands for an oven to close manually before, they noted.

The purpose of the low temperature heating is to look for ice in the sample. The next step is a middle temperature heating process, which heats the sample to 125 degrees Celsius, or 257 degrees Fahrenheit. This step assures that the sample is dry. The last heating occurs at 1,000 degrees Celsius, or 1,832 degrees Fahrenheit. The gases given off during these heating stages helps the science team to determine the specific properties of the Martian soil.

"We are expecting the sample to look similar to previous samples," said William Boynton of The University of Arizona, lead scientist for TEGA. "One of the things we'll be looking for now is an oxygen release indicative of perchlorate."

Perchlorate was found in a sample delivered to Phoenix?s Microscopy, Electrochemistry, and Conductivity Analyzer (MECA). The MECA team saw the perchlorate signal in a sample taken from the Dodo-Goldilocks trench on June 25, or Sol 30, or the 30th Martian day of the mission after landing, and again in another sample taken from the Snow White trench on July 6, or Sol 41. Seeing signs of perchlorate in TEGA would help confirm the previous results.

The new sample completes a three-level soil profile that also includes a surface material from a trench called Rosy Red and ice-layer material from a trench called Snow White.

"We want to know the structure and composition of the soil at the surface, at the ice and in-between to help answer questions about the movement of water -- either as vapor or liquid -- between the icy layer and the surface," said Ray Arvidson of Washington University in St. Louis, a leader of Phoenix science team activities.

The Phoenix mission is led by Peter Smith of The University of Arizona with project management at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and development partnership at Lockheed Martin, located in 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.

Lori Stiles | University of Arizona
Further information:
http://www.arizona.edu
http://phoenix.lpl.arizona.edu
http://www.nasa.gov/phoenix

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht ALMA discovers aluminum around young star
17.05.2019 | National Institutes of Natural Sciences

nachricht JQI researchers shed new light on atomic 'wave function'
17.05.2019 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Self-repairing batteries

UTokyo engineers develop a way to create high-capacity long-life batteries

Engineers at the University of Tokyo continually pioneer new ways to improve battery technology. Professor Atsuo Yamada and his team recently developed a...

Im Focus: Quantum Cloud Computing with Self-Check

With a quantum coprocessor in the cloud, physicists from Innsbruck, Austria, open the door to the simulation of previously unsolvable problems in chemistry, materials research or high-energy physics. The research groups led by Rainer Blatt and Peter Zoller report in the journal Nature how they simulated particle physics phenomena on 20 quantum bits and how the quantum simulator self-verified the result for the first time.

Many scientists are currently working on investigating how quantum advantage can be exploited on hardware already available today. Three years ago, physicists...

Im Focus: Accelerating quantum technologies with materials processing at the atomic scale

'Quantum technologies' utilise the unique phenomena of quantum superposition and entanglement to encode and process information, with potentially profound benefits to a wide range of information technologies from communications to sensing and computing.

However a major challenge in developing these technologies is that the quantum phenomena are very fragile, and only a handful of physical systems have been...

Im Focus: A step towards probabilistic computing

Working group led by physicist Professor Ulrich Nowak at the University of Konstanz, in collaboration with a team of physicists from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, demonstrates how skyrmions can be used for the computer concepts of the future

When it comes to performing a calculation destined to arrive at an exact result, humans are hopelessly inferior to the computer. In other areas, humans are...

Im Focus: Recording embryonic development

Scientists develop a molecular recording tool that enables in vivo lineage tracing of embryonic cells

The beginning of new life starts with a fascinating process: A single cell gives rise to progenitor cells that eventually differentiate into the three germ...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

SEMANTiCS 2019 brings together industry leaders and data scientists in Karlsruhe

29.04.2019 | Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Cement as a climate killer: Using industrial residues to produce carbon neutral alternatives

20.05.2019 | Materials Sciences

When bees are freezing

20.05.2019 | Life Sciences

Machine learning speeds modeling of experiments aimed at capturing fusion energy on Earth

20.05.2019 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>