Phoenix Digs on Mars

Article written: 2 Jun , 2008
Updated: 24 Dec , 2015

Phoenix’s first dig in the Martian soil. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ University of Arizona

The Phoenix lander used its robotic arm scoop to dig up soil on Mars surface for the first time during its activities during its seventh day on the Red Planet. The image above shows the hole dug by Phoenix, and below is a picture of the scoop itself, with the Martian soil inside.

The plan was to do a test dig and then dump the soil. If that works correctly, then Phoenix will dig another scoop and bring it to the TEGA device on board the lander, the Thermal and Evolved Gas Analyzer, a “furnace” and mass spectrometer instrument that scientists will use to analyze Martian ice and soil samples.

During its previous day’s activities on Sol 6, Phoenix reached out and touched Mars with its robotic arm scoop to make an impression on the Martian surface. And please, no conspiracy theories here, but the impression looks like a footprint, and the Phoenix scientists have dubbed the mark “Yeti.” Touching the surface was a preliminary test for the robotic arm and scoop, to make sure everything was working correctly before making the first scoop.

However, the TEGA device has experienced an intermittent short circuit, and the TEGA scientists are developing a procedure to work around the problem. But Phoenix can still deliver the soil sample to TEGA, and the sample can be held there until the device is working.

Original News Source: Phoenix

12 Responses

  1. Mek says

    Good thing NASA releases the pictures in monochrome, otherwise you’d be able to tell that that imprint is green-coloured due to Martian ichor. 😉

  2. Jozef K says

    Wow, that first photo is somewhat epic… What’s the horizontal rectangle-shaped imprint above the actual scoop?

  3. Ratbiter says

    “no conspiracy theories here, but the impression looks like a footprint” if it is an impression as stated why does it have a shadow down it’s right hand side when an impression would have it on the inside down the left?

  4. cwg says

    I know it’s not, but that first picture seems to show wetness, a slight pooling as if the light is catching liquid that was uncovered. Again, I know it’s not that at all- but still, I can’t look at this picture and NOT see a wet little puddle forming…

  5. Peter K says

    Ratbiter – look at the rocks on the surface, the shadow in Yeti is on the other side. The shadow of Phoenix will be of some bit sticking out to the right and the bit with the camera on itself

  6. Ratbiter says

    Thanks I knew there would be a logical reason So I guess there is no Yeti on Mars, well no prove yet

  7. Kevin F. says

    It’s sort of funny that that “footprint” on Mars really was made by Extraterrestrials.

    Us. 😀

  8. Spacer says

    The hole dug by Phoenix looks to me like a lump (layer) of ice. It’s shiny and is very akin to dirty ice that lies beneath the dirt here on Earth – I’ve many times uncovered such samples when I cleaned dirty ruts in pavement in front of my house in spring 🙂

  9. Astrofiend says

    “# Mek Says:
    June 2nd, 2008 at 8:29 am

    “Good thing NASA releases the pictures in monochrome, otherwise you’d be able to tell that that imprint is green-coloured due to Martian ichor. ;)”

    Nice one 🙂

  10. Hazardous says

    They have published photos in color. You may notice that in color photos there is stone in left corner that has been moved! There is a clear mark behind that stone that show’s that stone was recenltly moved.
    Nasa said nothing about stone, did they move it, I assume that they did!!? Or we have some natural cause for this moving?

  11. Wagner says

    For me, It’s water and ice, of course! And… why nasa don’t show color pics? And… million dollars and a Hercules work to show to world tons of unfocus pics? News’s polemics! There’s new deceptions!

  12. Dave S says

    Too bad they couldn’t reach out a little farther to avoid the exhaust from the retro rockets. Hope it doesn’t effect the samples they pull.

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