Phoenix Samples Martian Dirt

Robotic arm tested prior to search for life
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 2, 2008 5:41 AM CDT
The Phoenix Mars Lander's arm, lower right, in its protective covering called the biobarrier.    (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The Phoenix Mars Lander grabbed a small sample of the fine soil of the planet's polar region yesterday. It was only a test "dig and dump"—using the spacecraft's 8-foot-long robotic arm—but paves the way for retrieving and analyzing samples of Martian soil later this week, reports the Arizona Republic.