Scientific Measurements


Phoenix's Robotic Arm (RA) is the single most crucial element to making scientific measurements. The robotic arm combines strength and finesse to dig trenches, scrape water ice, and precisely deliver samples to other instruments on the science deck. Also, the robotic arm carries a camera and thermal-electric probe to make measurements directly in the trench.

The following table shows the relationships between Phoenix's science objectives, the scientific measurements to be made, and the instruments that will make these measurements.

Verify presence of water ice              
Determine soil layering and depth to ice layer(s)          
Determine porosity of soil and ice            
Show links between ice, organics, salts, and other minerals            
Measure carbonates              
Measure soil chemistry, including acidity and saltiness              
Measure isotopic ratios of hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen              
Survey area and trench geology          
Look at microscopic structure of soil and ice            
Understand if sedimentary layers exist          
Measure ground and ice temperature and heat transfer              
Look at daily and seasonal variations of temperature and pressure              
Measure humidity            
Measure wind speed            
Examine clouds and atmospheric dust            
Look for short-lived liquid water in exposed ice layer              
Measure presence of life supporting elements            
Measure chemical energy potential              
Measure amount of organics              
Measure organic concentration versus depth              
Measure amount of oxidizing material              
Determine carbon isotope ratios for evidence of biological potential              

Key:

SSI = Surface Stereo Imager
RAC = Robotic Arm Camera
MARDI = Mars Descent Imager
TEGA = Thermal and Evolved Gas Analyzer
MECA = Microscopy, Electrochemistry, and Conductivity Analyzer
WC = Wet Chemistry Experiment
M = Microscopy, including the Optical Microscope and the Atomic Force Microscope
TECP = Thermal and Electrical Conductivity Probe
MET = Meteorological Station

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