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Phoenix arm begins deployment
Posted: Thu, May 29, 2008, 5:47 AM ET (0947 GMT)
Phoenix Mars lander illustration (Univ. of Arizona) The robotic arm on NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander began its deployment on Wednesday after project engineers worked around a communications glitch that temporarily slowed the checkout of the lander. Engineers issued commands on Wednesday to begin the deployment of the arm, a two-day process, and expected to receive images on Thursday confirming the arm had started to move from its stowed position on the lander's deck. The arm will eventually be used to dig into the soil around the landing site, scooping up material to be analyzed by instruments on the lander. The mission is using the UHF link on the Mars Odyssey spacecraft as its primary relay for communicating with the lander after a similar radio on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter malfunctioned earlier in the week.
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