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William Jeffs
Johnson Space Center, Houston
281-483-5111

06.05.08
 
RELEASE : J08-007
 
 
Phoenix Mars Lander Lab at JSC Open to Media June 9
 
 
HOUSTON – Members of the science team, who will help validate measurements made from instruments aboard the Phoenix Mars Lander in a laboratory at NASA's Johnson Space Center, will be available to media June 9.

The Phoenix spacecraft landed on Mars May 25 on a mission to search for conditions favorable to past or present life in the Martian arctic. It will attempt to answer questions such as: Do the Martian polar regions preserve evidence of conditions favorable to life? What is the history of water on Mars? How do seasonal changes in the Martian climate affect the water cycle on the planet?

To answer these questions, Phoenix uses some of the most sophisticated and advanced technology ever sent to Mars. A robotic arm on the lander will dig through the soil to the water ice layer underneath, and deliver soil and ice samples to the mission's instruments. On the instrument deck are miniature ovens, a mass spectrometer, an atomic force microscope and a "chemistry lab in a box" to analyze the samples. Imaging systems will provide an unprecedented view of Mars. Equipment in the lab at JSC will be used to provide ground truth for measurements made by the Phoenix TEGA (Thermal Evolved Gas Analyzer) instrument on Mars.

Media representatives may view the lab and interview the scientists at 10 a.m. CDT Monday, June 9. Media planning to attend should contact the JSC Newsroom at 281-483-5111 by 5 p.m. June 6.

More information on the Phoenix mission is available online at:

http://www.nasa.gov/phoenix
 

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