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Camera On Arm Looks Beneath NASA Mars Lander

Date:
June 1, 2008
Source:
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Summary:
A view of the ground underneath NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander adds to evidence that descent thrusters dispersed overlying soil and exposed a harder substrate that may be ice.

A view of the ground underneath NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander adds to evidence that descent thrusters dispersed overlying soil and exposed a harder substrate that may be ice.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech//University of Arizona/Max Planck Institute

A view of the ground underneath NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander adds to evidence that descent thrusters dispersed overlying soil and exposed a harder substrate that may be ice.

The image received Friday night from the spacecraft's Robotic Arm Camera shows patches of smooth and level surfaces beneath the thrusters.

"This suggests we have an ice table under a thin layer of loose soil," said the lead scientist for the Robotic Arm Camera, Horst Uwe Keller of Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany.

"We were expecting to find ice within two to six inches of the surface," said Peter Smith of the University of Arizona, Tucson, principal investigator for Phoenix. "The thrusters have excavated two to six inches and, sure enough, we see something that looks like ice. It's not impossible that it's something else, but our leading interpretation is ice."

The Phoenix mission is led by Smith at the University of Arizona with project management by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., and development partnership at Lockheed Martin, Denver. International contributions come from the Canadian Space Agency; the University of Neuchatel, Switzerland; the universities of Copenhagen and Aarhus, Denmark; Max Planck Institute, Germany; and the Finnish Meteorological Institute.

For more about Phoenix, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/phoenix and http://phoenix.lpl.arizona.edu.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Camera On Arm Looks Beneath NASA Mars Lander." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 June 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080531231836.htm>.
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (2008, June 1). Camera On Arm Looks Beneath NASA Mars Lander. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080531231836.htm
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Camera On Arm Looks Beneath NASA Mars Lander." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080531231836.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

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