Shiny Happy Spaceships

Just a pick and a quick link. I'll prolly be posting more freq'ly again, once my brain stops trying to kill me.

Mars lander to inspect itself with robotic arm

---Phoenix touched down in Mars's north polar region on Sunday and quickly started beaming back images of its surroundings.

Now, the lander's robotic arm has finished freeing itself from its restraints, a crucial step along the way to sampling the Martian soil and ice.

Two pins held the arm in place and prevented it from being damaged by vibrations during Phoenix's launch and landing. NASA commanded the arm to start the process of freeing itself on Wednesday morning PDT (Wednesday afternoon GMT).

The arm has now completely freed itself from the pins and a sterile wrapping called the biobarrier, which prevented the arm from being contaminated with Earth microbes prior to launch, the Phoenix team reported at a press briefing on Thursday.

"Our arm was cooped up in our restraints for 14 months," Phoenix team member Matthew Robinson of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, US, said during the briefing. "It was raring to go, it's busted loose now, and we're ready to go – we're excited."


  1. And apparently landed right on top of an ice patch...very cool!

  2. Nice aim! Should be some interesting data coming out soon.

    Very cool indeed!

  3. this project has been 5 years in the making. a lot of blood, sweat,tears, and sleepless nights. as of tonight the engineers are running on less than 3 hours of sleep in order to start digging up and processing the first soil sample!


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