NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander repositioned its robotic arm slightly Tuesday and is now poised to deliver Martian soil to its wet chemistry laboratory.
Sample delivery and analysis is planned as the science highlight on Wednesday, the 30th Martian day of the mission. Phoenix is to perform the first-ever wet-chemistry experiment on polar Martian terrain, testing the soil for salts, acidity and other characteristics.
The wet chemistry laboratory is part of the suite of tools called the Microscopy, Electrochemistry and Conductivity Analyzer, or MECA.
The Phoenix mission is led by Peter Smith of The University of Arizona with project management at JPL and development partnership at Lockheed Martin, located in Denver. International contributions come from the Canadian Space Agency; the University of Neuchatel, Switzerland; the universities of Copenhagen and Aarhus, Denmark; Max Planck Institute, Germany; and the Finnish Meteorological Institute.