Phoenix Lander Watches Snow Falling on Mars

As the clock continues to tick for brave Phoenix so far away on Mars, the discoveries keep on rolling: this time, that snow falls on Mars. A laser instrument called for pulsing the atmosphere and observing what gets bounced back detected Martian flurries at altitudes of 4km in the clouds. The snow is vaporizing before… » 9/30/08 9:50am 9/30/08 9:50am

Phoenix Lander Crew's Cubicles Designed to Fight Perpetual Martian Jet…

I've always tried to look at jet lag from a more recreational perspective (when else will I rise from sleep wide awake at 3:45 AM?), but what the scientists of the Mars Phoenix Lander mission have to go through makes a 19-hour direct flight to Singapore look like cupcakes. Since Martian Sols are longer than Earth days… » 7/29/08 7:20pm 7/29/08 7:20pm

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