July 28, 2008
Lander to Earth: Tastes Like Peanut Butter

The Martian polar soil continues to give Phoenix troubles. I guess this sort of thing is bound to happen when one of the basic assumptions of the mission proves wrong. Then again, since nobody knew what to expect, I'm pretty sure this couldn't have been avoided.

Posted by scott at July 28, 2008 10:44 AM

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While I agree that the texture of the soil was (and still is) somewhat unknown, I'm a bit mystified as to why this is happening. We know the basic composition of the soil and should've been able to design the scoop to not have the material stick. Maybe it's a temp difference causing the material to melt slightly and stick?

Posted by: ronaprhys on July 28, 2008 10:56 AM

making the scoop vibrate is one thing, but it looks like NASA has no equivalent mechanism to "tap the scoop a little on the back" to make the soil drop out. Like hitting the bottom of a ketchup bottle or giving an ice cream scooper a quick whack to release the ice cream...

Posted by: Mark on July 28, 2008 02:19 PM
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