NASA scientists celebrate as Mars Lander successfully soils itself

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Now I know that none of you were even remotely interested in what has been happening in the world of mobile telephony, so I bring you another report from the icy depths of space. Scientists are jubilant this morning because it seems yesterday’s desperate battle against Mars’ fiendishly ‘clumpy’ soil has been won and samples are now being delivered to the lander’s Thermal and Evolved-Gas Analyzer (TEGA).

Efforts were originally thwarted when despite soil successfully being scooped up and deposited over one of the single-use TEGA ovens, nothing made it through the fine sieve to reach the sensors. Since that failure, NASA has been affecting a sprinkle motion in the hopes of dislodging a small enough sample to pass through to the sensors. This appears to have worked.

Next on the to do list is to position a sample on to a wheel that will rotate to place it under an optical microscope. Later on, the Phoenix is going to try and collect some ice samples. It’s all kicking off on Mars, eh?

(via MSNBC)

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