June 9, 2008 On Sunday, Sol 14 of NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander mission, mechanical shakers inside the Thermal and Evolved-Gas Analyzer will attempt to loosen clumped soils on the device's screens to allow material to fall into the oven for analysis later in the week.
The commands for this shaking action were to be sent to the spacecraft late morning Sunday, Pacific Daylight Time, and results will be reported Monday, June 9. Also on Sol 14, the robotic arm will acquire a sample from the "Baby Bear" site intended for the MECA microscopy station. Delivery of that sample will occur no earlier than Sol 16, after testing is done to sprinkle the sample.
A camera on Phoenix continues to image the area close to the spacecraft to extend scientists' knowledge of the landing area and work sites.
Phoenix's Robotic Arm Camera on Saturday took additional images of areas close to and under the lander unreachable by the larger Surface Stereo Imager (SSI), said Ray Arvidson of Washington University in St. Louis, Phoenix co-investigator for the Robotic Arm.
"We are mapping with the Robotic Arm Camera where the SSI can't see to extend our knowledge of the site and to see details of the polygon structures of the near field, close to the lander," Arvidson said.
On May 30, images taken under the lander showed the descent thrusters had cleared dirt from a smooth patch of either ice or rock. That area has been informally named "Snow Queen." Mission scientists continue to examine that feature.
The Phoenix mission is led by Peter Smith at the University of Arizona with project management at JPL 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.
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