Mars Phoenix Lander Protects Itself From Bad NASA Commands

The Mars Phoenix Lander shut its robotic arm down over the weekend, refusing to follow NASA directions after "realizing" those actions would have damaged its wrist. NASA programmers had to send new code to bring the arm back to life, and are now augmenting the original code to try and get the task done. Seemingly… » 7/16/08 1:45pm 7/16/08 1:45pm

First Time Jitters Cause Inaugural Mars Lander Load To Miss Target

Our favorite Martian gadget of the moment is experiencing some performance anxiety. While all of Phoenix's parts are working just fine, including the 8-foot scoop arm, the little guy just couldn't seal the deal when NASA scientists gave the green light to scoop dirt and put the bun in the oven. None of the inaugural… » 6/08/08 11:30am 6/08/08 11:30am

Nasa's Phoenix Spacecraft Is Fully Scoopable

After experiencing a little trouble early on with the robotic arm on the Phoenix lander, it appears that all systems are go for NASA to begin sampling Martian dirt. A practice scoop was carried out successfully and scientists noted that "a bright material appears in the scooped-up soil and in the hole from which it… » 6/02/08 4:40pm 6/02/08 4:40pm

Mars Lander Can Move Arm Now, Probably Just Slept On It Wrong

Putting rest to fears that the Phoenix Lander might be DOA, the lander wagged its robotic arm on Thursday. NASA was worried that a stuck piece of plastic casing could prohibit the 7.7 ft titanium appendage from extending, making it impossible for the Phoenix to carry out crucial drilling experiments. » 5/30/08 8:41pm 5/30/08 8:41pm