Mars lander's robotic arm touches soil

Nasa’s new robot on Mars has reached out and touched the soil for the first time, leaving behind a striking footprint-like impression, scientists said.

The Phoenix Mars Lander’s robotic arm was making a test run, just one week after its landing. The spacecraft, which is also its own laboratory, will soon start scooping up soil and ice and running tests on it.

“This first touch allows us to utilise the robotic arm accurately,” said David Spencer, Phoenix’s surface mission manager at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

“We are in a good situation” for the future testing, he said.

Nasa on Saturday showed sharp images of what appeared to be ice exposed under the lander.

The mission’s main goal is to test ice for evidence of organic compounds that are the chemical building blocks of life.

The University of Arizona in Tucson is leading and Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is managing the three-month scientific mission.

More in this Section

Democrats cry foul ahead of start of Donald Trump’s impeachment hearingDemocrats cry foul ahead of start of Donald Trump’s impeachment hearing

Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal suffers fourth defeat in LordsBoris Johnson’s Brexit deal suffers fourth defeat in Lords

Nancy Pelosi pays tribute to Auschwitz victims ahead of liberation anniversaryNancy Pelosi pays tribute to Auschwitz victims ahead of liberation anniversary

Jess Phillips quits UK Labour leadership raceJess Phillips quits UK Labour leadership race


Lifestyle

Hannah Stephenson has advice on how to care for your garden when wet weather strikesHow to prevent and deal with waterlogging in the garden

If you're down in the epidermal dumps, exfoliation, hydration and decongesting is what you need.The Skin Nerd: How to prep and pep that played-out January skin

The Winter Show, which gets underway in New York this Friday, is a celebration of world cultures, from antiquity to the present.Time travellers are packing their suitcases for New York this week

“Finish him!” It’s one of the most famous lines in video games – in fact, they pretty much built the entire series around it. Mortal Kombat is notorious for brutal finishing moves, in which the characters kill off their opponents in horrific (and often humourous) fashion.Game Tech: Mortal line lives on in the cinema

More From The Irish Examiner