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Robotic Arm

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By Mary O’Keefe | June 26, 2008
On June 15, the Phoenix Mars Lander, managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory here, used its robotic arm to dig down into a trench called ?Dodo-Goldilocks.? As the arm scooped out soil samples it came upon dice-size clumps of bright, white material. The arm dropped the clumps to the side and scientists watched. Four days later the clumps had disappeared. ?They had been clearing out the trench area and found these few large clods. They looked light and [scientists thought] they could be ice or salt,?
NEWS
By Mary O'Keefe | July 12, 2007
Two JPL managed missions are preparing for launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. One, the Phoenix Mars Lander, is on schedule, the other, the Dawn Mission, has been delayed. Phoenix has a three-week launch schedule beginning on August 3 at 2:35 a.m. PST. The launch is dependent upon the Florida weather, which has been fraught with thunderstorms in the past weeks however the early morning launch time should be a benefit. The Phoenix will arrive at Mars in the spring of 2008.
NEWS
By Mary O'Keefe | June 29, 2006
Employees at JPL will be looking into the heavens again this Saturday, not for one of their spacecrafts, but rather for one of their former colleagues involved with the launch of the Discovery Space Shuttle. NASA Astronaut Stephanie Wilson, formerly of JPL's Galileo mission, will be the second African-American woman ever to fly into space. Her launch is scheduled for Saturday, from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, at 3:49 p.m. EDT. "We are all so incredibly excited and proud of her," said JPL employee Todd Barber, who is now lead propulsion engineer on the Cassini mission but worked with Wilson 10 years ago on Galileo.
NEWS
By Mary O'Keefe | August 10, 2006
Space Shuttle Discovery astronauts made a stop at JPL to discuss their recent mission with scientists, engineers and future astronauts. Mission specialists Stephanie Wilson and Piers Sellers spoke to a standing room only audience at JPL's von Karman Auditorium last Thursday. The astronauts were part of a six-member Discovery team that was the first space shuttle to launch on Independence Day. They returned to Earth on July 17 after a successful flight. During the mission, Sellers performed three spacewalks.
NEWS
By Mary O'Keefe | July 26, 2007
Early this week, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory received signals from Opportunity, one of the twin Mars exploration rover, advising them that its power situation was improving slightly. This was good news because both rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, have been stuck in the middle of some horrific Martian weather the last few weeks that have drained power and limited their exploration. "It all depends on the weather," said John Callas, JPL's project manager for both rovers. Martian dust storms have always been a concern for scientists and engineers, but in the three-plus years they've been on Mars these recent storms have been the worst the rovers have ever encountered, Callas said.
NEWS
By Mary O’Keefe | July 30, 2007
Early this week, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory received signals from Opportunity, one of the twin Mars exploration rover, advising them that its power situation was improving slightly. This was good news because both rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, have been stuck in the middle of some horrific Martian weather the last few weeks that have drained power and limited their exploration. ?It all depends on the weather,? said John Callas, JPL?s project manager for both rovers. Martian dust storms have always been a concern for scientists and engineers, but in the three-plus years they?
NEWS
By Mary O’Keefe | June 12, 2008
After a few days of vibrating clumpy Martian soil in an attempt to get a sample into the Phoenix lander’s Thermal and Evolved-Gas Analyzer (TEGA), the material is finally in the oven. The Phoenix is managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada and scientists there cheered this week when they heard the sample, after an unexpected delay, had been successfully collected. The TEGA is an instrument that will study substances converted to gases by heating soil samples that are delivered by the robotic arm. Scientists knew that if all went according to plan, the arm would scoop up Martian soil and drop it onto a screen that covers one of the eight ovens on Phoenix.
NEWS
By Mary O’Keefe | June 19, 2008
After 17 years, four times its expected mission lifetime, the Ulysses spacecraft is only a few weeks away from ending its exploration of the sun. According to Ed Smith, Ulysses project scientist at JPL, the main objective of the spacecraft was to study “from every angle, the heliosphere, which is the vast bubble in space carved out by the solar wind.” He credits Ulysses with redefining the knowledge of the heliosphere and “our solar neighborhood.” The spacecraft has flown over the sun’s poles three times.
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NEWS
By Mary O’Keefe | June 26, 2008
On June 15, the Phoenix Mars Lander, managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory here, used its robotic arm to dig down into a trench called ?Dodo-Goldilocks.? As the arm scooped out soil samples it came upon dice-size clumps of bright, white material. The arm dropped the clumps to the side and scientists watched. Four days later the clumps had disappeared. ?They had been clearing out the trench area and found these few large clods. They looked light and [scientists thought] they could be ice or salt,?
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NEWS
By Mary O'Keefe | July 12, 2007
Two JPL managed missions are preparing for launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. One, the Phoenix Mars Lander, is on schedule, the other, the Dawn Mission, has been delayed. Phoenix has a three-week launch schedule beginning on August 3 at 2:35 a.m. PST. The launch is dependent upon the Florida weather, which has been fraught with thunderstorms in the past weeks however the early morning launch time should be a benefit. The Phoenix will arrive at Mars in the spring of 2008.
NEWS
By Mary O'Keefe | June 29, 2006
Employees at JPL will be looking into the heavens again this Saturday, not for one of their spacecrafts, but rather for one of their former colleagues involved with the launch of the Discovery Space Shuttle. NASA Astronaut Stephanie Wilson, formerly of JPL's Galileo mission, will be the second African-American woman ever to fly into space. Her launch is scheduled for Saturday, from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, at 3:49 p.m. EDT. "We are all so incredibly excited and proud of her," said JPL employee Todd Barber, who is now lead propulsion engineer on the Cassini mission but worked with Wilson 10 years ago on Galileo.
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