Mars Phoenix Lander Moves Arm For First Time In A Year - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Infrastructure // PC & Servers
News
5/30/2008
03:31 PM
50%
50%

Mars Phoenix Lander Moves Arm For First Time In A Year

NASA said the Phoenix was instructed to rotate its "wrist," unlatch its launch lock, raise the forearm, and move it upright to release the elbow restraint.

The Phoenix Mars Lander's arm is working and preparing to dig into martian soil, NASA said Friday.

During its third day on the Red Planet, the lander moved its arm, said Matthew Robinson of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

"We're pleased that we successfully unstowed the robotic arm," he said in an announcement. "In fact, this is the first time we have moved the arm in about a year."

NASA said the Phoenix was instructed to rotate its "wrist," unlatch its launch lock, raise the forearm, and move it upright to release the elbow restraint.

NASA planned to test the arm at various temperatures, then command the arm to reach under the spacecraft with a camera to provide a view of the terrain and the bottom of the lander itself.

Soon, the robotic arm will dig into the soil and deliver samples to lab instruments for analysis. The information is likely to give clues about whether life is, or has been, possible on the planet.

"We are now making plans for where to dig first and what we'll save for later," Phoenix principal investigator Peter Smith, of the University of Arizona, said in a statement.

The mission also announced that it had successfully activated a laser instrument that detects dust, clouds, and fog. The lidar, provided by the Canadian Space Agency, sends out rapid pulses of green laser-like light into the atmosphere. The light bounces off particles and reflects back to a telescope.

"The Canadians are walking on moonbeams," said Jim Whiteway, a Canadian scientist from York University, Toronto. "It's a huge achievement for us."

Whiteway likened the task of delivering the lidar -- while maintaining alignment within 1/100 of a degree -- to aiming a baseball "from home plate to the center field wall, holding that aim steady after launch for a year in space, then landing."

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
News
How COVID is Changing Technology Futures
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  7/23/2020
Slideshows
10 Ways AI Is Transforming Enterprise Software
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  7/13/2020
Commentary
IT Career Paths You May Not Have Considered
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  6/30/2020
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
Special Report: Why Performance Testing is Crucial Today
This special report will help enterprises determine what they should expect from performance testing solutions and how to put them to work most efficiently. Get it today!
Slideshows
Flash Poll