2008-06-12 23:25:10 GMT 2008-06-13 07:25:10 (Beijing Time) Xinhua English
A white layer visible where the Phoenix Lander robotic arm scooped away the martian soil. NASA said images received on Thursday confirmed that its Phoenix Mars lander has sprinkled a spoonful of Martian soil onto the sample wheel of the spacecraft’s robotic microscope station. (Xinhua/AFP Photo)
This image released by NASA June 6, 2008 was taken by NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander's Surface Stereo Imager on Sol 11 (June 5, 2008), the eleventh day after landing. It shows the Robotic Arm scoop containing a soil sample poised over the partially open door of the Thermal and Evolved-Gas Analyzer's number four cell, or oven. Light-colored clods of material visible toward the scoop's lower edge may be part of the crusted surface material seen previously near the foot of the lander. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
WASHINGTON, June 12 (Xinhua) -- NASA said images received on Thursday confirmed that its Phoenix Mars lander has sprinkled a spoonful of Martian soil onto the sample wheel of the spacecraft’s robotic microscope station.
"It looks like a light dusting and that's just what we wanted," said Michael Hecht of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who is the lead scientist for the Microscopy, Electrochemistry and Conductivity Analyzer (MECA) instrument on Phoenix.
The delivery of scooped-up soil for inspection by the lander's Optical Microscope, a component of MECA, marks the second success in consecutive days for getting samples delivered to laboratory instruments on Phoenix's deck.
Some soil from an earlier scoopful by the Robotic Arm reached a tiny oven in another instrument on Tuesday, as confirmed in data received early Wednesday. That instrument is the Thermal and Evolved-Gas Analyzer, or TEGA.
New commands being sent to Phoenix on Thursday include instructions to close the TEGA oven and begin analyzing the sample inside, a process that will take several days, NASA Phoenix team reported.