NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander has successfully dumped another sample of surface dirt into its ovens for analysis, mission scientists reported this weekend.
The $420 million Phoenix mission is designed to analyze the surface dirt and underlying ice in the arctic regions of Mars to assess whether or not the area might have been habitable at some point in the past.
A few particles of the sample passed
through the screen on Thursday, but not enough to fill the oven and allow
analysis of the sample to begin. The
"There appear to be clumps
blocking the opening," said
Vibration of the screen on Saturday finally succeeded in getting enough dirt into the oven to begin analysis. The team sent instructions to begin analysis of the sample on Sunday.
On Friday, the spacecraft also extended the width of an exploratory trench informally named "Neverland," which runs between two rocks on the surface of the ground.
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