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Emily LakdawallaJune 2, 2008

Phoenix digs into the dirt

Tonight's downlink from Phoenix proves that the lander has dug up a scoop of dirt from the surface of Mars for the first time. Here's a crossed-eye stereo view, similar to the one I posted earlier today of Yeti -- you can see many of the same rocks. But the Yeti's footprint has been replaced by a squarish scoop cut in to the Martian soil.

Site of Phoenix' first scoop into the Martian dirt


Site of Phoenix' first scoop into the Martian dirt
On sol 7 of its mission to the Martian northern plains, Phoenix dug in to the Martian soil for the first time. This is a crossed-eye stereo view, taken through the left and right eyes of the mast-mounted camera; cross your eyes until the two images overlap to make it appear three-dimensional.
And, just to prove it worked, here's the inside of the scoop! That robotic arm camera is handy.
Martian dirt inside Phoenix' scoop


Martian dirt inside Phoenix' scoop
On sol 7, Phoenix dug into the Martian dirt, and captured a photo of the soil sample with its robotic arm camera.
If I'm not mistaken, this operation was supposed to include a "dump" of the soil inside the scoop, but I'm not confident I can identify an image chronicling that -- so for that I'll have to wait until tomorrow's briefing.

Go Phoenix!

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Emily Lakdawalla

Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist for The Planetary Society
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