NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander is one step closer to analyzing a sample of the rock-hard layer of ice underneath the Martian dirt where the spacecraft touched down two months ago.
Overnight Tuesday to Wednesday, Phoenix used its robotic arm to scrape the top of the icy layer in the trench informally known as Snow White.
"We are monitoring changes
between the scrapes," said Doug Ming of
Within a few days, the team plans to
collect a sample from the icy layer and deliver it to
The aim of the $420 million mission,
which landed on May 25, is to characterize the dirt and icy layer that lies
below it in the north polar regions of Mars to look for signs that the planet
might have been habitable at some point in the past.
"For the next sample, we will
be operating the instrument earlier in the morning than we have before,"
said William Boynton of the
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