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Phoenix detects possible ice
Posted: Mon, Jun 2, 2008, 10:18 PM ET (0218 GMT)
Phoenix first scoop of Martian regolith (NASA/JPL/UAz.) NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander spacecraft has uncovered what may be ice both in a region directly underneath the lander as well as in the first scoop of martian soil grabbed by the lander's arm. The patch of white material, thought to be ice, was spotted underneath the lander by a camera on the arm as it performed an inspection of the spacecraft. Scientists suspect the material was uncovered by the lander's thrusters as it touched down, blowing away the top several centimeters of regolith. On Monday the spacecraft's robotic arm grabbed its first scoop of regolith; embedded in the material were white specks that may be ice or salt crystals. The material was later dumped back on the surface, but later scoops of material will be transported to instruments on the lander for analysis.
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