Mars Phoenix to chemically test for water

The Phoenix Mars lander is ready to sample a scoop of icy ground and hopefully prove, chemically, that that white shiny stuff is water.

They’ve done thermal tests of the soil to see what time of day is best to minimise sublimation (i.e., turning into gas) of any ice they expose and dig up. They’ve given the topsoil a good digging and scraping to expose a promising area. They’ve monitored how quickly the ice in newly exposed soil sublimates. They’ve planned their rasping, digging, and dumping moves. And they’ve cleared the scoop and opened the TEGA doors.

TEGA doors open on the Mars Phoenix lander