Phoenix Mars rover took the Martian soil. More precisely - for finding it favorable for the existence of life elements. On Friday, he took a handful of soil analysis at the North Pole.
New photos sent out to the Earth spacecraft show its automatic two-meter arm, above the half-open doors miniature oven, ready to heat samples and conduct their detailed chemical analysis.
In the photo (NASA), made a stereo camera, "Phoenix", visible soil samples in the scoop-manipulator, hovering over the half-open "stove" - gas termoanalizatorom rover.
Scientists hope to measure the amount of water and type of minerals in the arctic soil to determine whether once could environment to support primitive life on the planet. In particular, investigators in the search for signs of samples of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen.
"We’re very curious whether the ice is below the surface, ever in molten form," - said the chief scientist Peter Smith (Peter Smith) from the University of Arizona, escort mission, "Phoenix", worth 420 million dollars.
"Phoenix," which landed in the northern part of Mars on May 25, can not directly detect traces of past or present life on the planet. Excavation of soil and its transfer to the oven has been postponed for the day after the satellite in the orbit of Mars and transmitting instructions from the Earth to the "Phoenix", went into safe mode. Once the rover rolls soil samples in termoanalizator evolved gas to heat them to a temperature of 1800 degrees, it takes several days to finish the scientists were able to analyze and draw conclusions about the possible existence of life on the planet.
Meanwhile, scientists have planned for the next Mars rover mission. Next week, the "Phoenix" will have to dig the groove and the other two scoops deliver the samples to his lab microscope and wet chemical analysis.
After collecting samples of Martian soil, "Phoenix" will plunge into its main job: he will have to get to the overlying ice beneath the surface of Mars, which is believed to scientists, is located at a depth of several centimeters. Mars - a cold and dusty, with no signs of liquid water on the surface. But some scientists believe that the underground ice may have been in a liquid state at a time when the planet was warmer and more humid climate. Hot news, science and technology, the only first-hand.
On materials: Science.nasa.gov