In The Field

Phoenix landing: Here’s the scoop

Phoenix’s robotic arm has scooped up its first mouthful of Martian soil, mission scientists announced today. In a test “dig and dump” area to the west of the “National Parks” that are off limits for now, the robotic arm easily slid into the soil. The color picture here, taken with the LEDs of the robotic arm camera, gives a good sense of the crumbly, crusty overburden that the team will be digging through to get to the ice that they’re pretty sure lurks just below. 

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