In The Field

Phoenix landing: Organic contamination

Is Phoenix, and one of its premier instruments, TEGA, covered in too much microscopic crud from Earth to detect Martian organics? That’s the question I try to explore in my latest story on the main Nature news site. TEGA, pictured on the right, is about to begin baking soil samples and sniffing the gases that come off it in the hopes of detecting organic molecules. But whether the TEGA team can say anything definitive will depend on how free the instrument is of Earth organics. Yesterday, Phoenix had its scoop poised at the edge of one of TEGA’s eight oven 

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