Sticky Soil Foils Mars Work

Dirt is sticking to lander's arm, so NASA revising its methods
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 28, 2008 8:19 AM CDT
This artist rendition provided by NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory shows the Phoenix lander on the arctic plains of Mars digging a trench through the upper soil layer.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – NASA is revising its soil-harvesting method because the Phoenix Mars lander is having trouble with its icy finds, reports. The lander’s attempts to analyze the soil have been troubled because the soil is sticking to its scoop, stubbornly refusing to fall into the tiny oven designed to melt and study it. Next time, the scoop will dig less and vibrate more. NASA is studying the soil to see whether it could have ever supported life.