Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Messing with Martian dirt

The Phoenix Mars Lander is taking it slow while engineers adjust the procedures for depositing soil samples into the "bake and sniff" bins of the Thermal and Evolved-Gas Analyzer (TEGA). The soil is considerably clumpier than expected.
COMMENT: The clumpiness is an interesting fact all by itself, since the Vikings and later probes have characterized Martian soil at lower latitudes, and Phoenix designers thought they knew what to expect.

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