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NASA scientists hope to crack some of the secrets of Mars this weekend, when they will try to land a robot on the planet's unexplored arctic region.
The three-legged Phoenix Mars, with its backhoe arm, is equipped for a 90-day digging mission to examine the region, where a reservoir of ice is believed to lurk beneath the surface.
Phoenix lacks the tools to detect signs of extinct or current alien life. However, it will study whether the ice ever melted and look for traces of organic compounds in the permafrost to determine if life could have existed there.