This image, taken by NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander's Robotic Arm Camera on Sol 50, the 50th day of the mission, July 15, 2008, shows material collected in the lander's scoop from the rasping activity on the Martian surface. The collected material, believed to be icy soil, is near the bottom of the image.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/Max Planck Institute
NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander has successfully drilled into the rock-hard ice layer below the Martian surface and collected the frozen shavings in its robotic arm scoop, NASA said on Wednesday.
The ice is too hard for Phoenix's scoop to dig into it, so the craft used a powered rasp on the back of the scoop to drill into the ice, loosen the material and kick it up into the scoop.
Images and data sent from
When ice is exposed to the air on Mars, it starts to sublimate, or convert into water vapor (whereas ice exposed to air on Earth tends to melt).
The rasp made two
separate holes in the trench informally named Snow White, which
This ice collection trial was a test
of the rasping method of gathering a sample. The same method will be used in
the coming days to collect a sample for
"This was a trial that went
really well," said Richard Morris, a
Mission scientists will command
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