Wednesday, June 11, 2008

NASA's Phoenix Lander Has An Oven Full Of Martian Soil

NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander has filled its first oven with Martian soil.

"We have an oven full," Phoenix co-investigator Bill Boynton of the University of Arizona, Tucson, said today. "It took 10 seconds to fill the oven. The ground moved."

Boynton leads the Thermal and Evolved-Gas Analyzer instrument, or TEGA, for Phoenix. The instrument has eight separate tiny ovens to bake and sniff the soil to assess its volatile ingredients, such as water.

4 comments:

mister ecks said...

mmm. martian mud pies!

intense said...

Over $420 million just so that some Earthian Easy-Bake Oven can sniff the soil for life precursors 32 years after the Viking landers.

There's something wrong there...

Anonymous said...

Not that it matters, but it still upsets me to think there is no instrument on board to directly test for organic life forms. It boggles my imagination.

On the other hand there is one instrument on the craft that could possibly detect life on the planet and that would be the camera. So if a Martian walks up and waves to the camera....

Michael

Mac said...

So if a Martian walks up and waves to the camera....

Don't hold your breath -- although on Mars you might have to!