Latest Scoop on The Phoenix Mars Lander

With the press release on Monday, questions were put to rest regarding whether the shield around the Phoenix Lander robotic arm would hinder its’ operation.

Test scoops of Martian soil

These pictures show the arm is working fine, and full of Martian soil.

Take note those white specks in the red soil.

We are now told that those might be salt, rather than ice.Salt would mean the water on Mars disappeared long ago. For me, that was a whole new prospect.

The Phoenix Mission Site, operated by The University of Arizona in Tucson, has some great PDF articles about the importance of water in supporting life anywhere. These are great resources for reports and presentations.

The Phoenix Mission Plan calls for three trenches to be dug by the robotic shovel arm. The latest scoop on the scoop, says the NASA guys decided to dump their first bucket full of soil, and try for another. “Practice makes perfect,” mother used to say. Simple experiment, but now there is a new issue.

Some of the soil stuck to the shovel. Does that mean moisture? I am sure they will get back to us when they figure that part out. What it does mean is that what comes out of the shovel might not flow like sand. That will affect what gets in the ovens and causes concerns over damage to the oven doors.

The oven doors are also raising eyebrows. You can see one oven door has opened properly, and the other has only opened partially.

And here I thought the folks at NASA were just sitting back and reading computer printouts. It appears they have more to work through than first meets the eye.

Latest news releases on the Phoenix Mars Lander also state that a “nagging” circuit problem was fixed. I wonder if that was the problem that caused them to have to move to the backup operating system shortly after arrival on the Martian surface.

There have been concerns expressed, and questions asked, ever since the Phoenix Lander entered the Martian atmosphere. The results we are seeing show us that the mission is proceeding on target, even with minor problems that have appeared.

Just another day in a rainy Paradise. Smiles. ET

Phoenix Mars Mission – Home

Photo credits: NASA

News From Under the Phoenix Mars Lander

Images from the Phoenix Mars Lander are returning very interesting information. The photos appear to be supporting the idea that there is a layer of solid ice just below the shallow soil surface of Mars. NASA states that the camera on the robotic arm took this picture.

That could be ice on Mars

The Thrusters have removed from two to six inches of soil and now we see a very solid surface below. Is the robotic arm up to “digging” in to that stuff? It appears we will have to wait until June 2, 2008, when NASA has announced they will have news conference to tell us all about the Mission to Mars.

You are getting the “Public” view (per NASA) of the mission through my eyes. Admittedly, I have been watching NASA more closely since viewing a video that presented evidence that NASA might not have been totally truthful with the Public about the manned mission to the Moon.

I have made several posts regarding the Phoenix Mars Lander and its’ entry in to the Martian atmosphere. You will find those posts, and a neat animation of the landing on the  Phoenix Mars Lander Page.

You can also be a Public  visitor at the NASA website and sees that latest pictures and animations. The titles to their animated gifs made me think they had the robotic arm loose from the sheathing that still wrapped it. Their pictures don’t support that idea. Take a look for yourself. I don’t see where that arm has moved anywhere.

NASA really does have some great animations of the mission on their website, even though they are not providing a lot of hard facts on the current mission status. Check out this link for the latest on the Mars Mission.

NASA – Hard Substrate, Possibly Ice, Uncovered Under the Mars Lander

Other than that, it is just another day in Paradise.

Smiles. ET

Published in: on June 1, 2008 at 12:49 am  Leave a Comment  
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