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Martian Soil Sample Clogs Phoenix Probe's Oven

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posted on Jun, 8 2008 @ 02:01 PM
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Scientists ran into a snag when trying to deliver a sample of Martian arctic soil to one of the instruments on NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander, mission controllers said on Saturday.

The lander's robotic arm released a handful of clumpy Martian soil onto a screened opening of the Thermal and Evolved-Gas Analyzer (TEGA) on Friday, but the instrument did not confirm that any of the sample passed through the screen.

Images taken on Friday show soil resting on the screen over an open sample-delivery door of TEGA, which is designed to heat up soil samples and analyze the vapors they give off to determine the soil's composition.

The researchers have not yet determined why none of the sample appears to have gotten past the screen, but they have begun proposing possibilities.


This is something I had already been wondering about, how to deal with the soil if it were not fine enough to work with. It also seems odd how they designed the ovens. When they dump the soil into one, the excess soil lands on and around the others. Now I would assume they tested the process thouroughly on earth and found no problems but look at this pic:



How do they deal with the excess soil which lands around the door openings? Will this not build up to the point that the operation of the oven doors is impeded? Can anyone explain the process of the door operation in further detail? I'm worried that they may have a design flaw on their hands, but it may just be that I do not understand the process well enough.

Any opinions?




posted on Jun, 8 2008 @ 02:24 PM
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Well, im going to be the first to say it
Its obviously a bug

On a more serious note, that does look like rather poor design tho, one would think they have a way to clear it, unless they didnt really expect too many samples anyway?



posted on Jun, 8 2008 @ 08:11 PM
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That's just great.
Now the clods at NASA have been stymied by some clods on Mars.

What an oversite. It seems that none of the designers played in the dirt growing up.



posted on Jun, 8 2008 @ 08:15 PM
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The geniuses from NASA did not anticipate that an accumulation of soil would not let the doors open properly?.

The more I know about NASA the more I`m inclined to think that they are the biggest scam humanity has ever seen.



posted on Jun, 8 2008 @ 08:31 PM
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Originally posted by Camilo1
The geniuses from NASA did not anticipate that an accumulation of soil would not let the doors open properly?.

The more I know about NASA the more I`m inclined to think that they are the biggest scam humanity has ever seen.


They are the biggest scammers on Earth period.

If their research and missions even sniffs a hint of unsettling the apple cart they screw it up.

This 'mars soil' incident has been done on purpose so they can tell us it is broken.

Then they will sit back, fix it and look at their findings without having nosey civilians watching every step.



posted on Jun, 8 2008 @ 08:40 PM
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I was JUST thinking that when I heard about the problem with the soil not getting into the oven, how CONVENIENT!

I was thinking the other day, how there was going to be some sort of catastrophe or problem with the Phoenix soon....I hate to be paranoid about that sort of thing but with NASA it ALWAYS seems to happen.


Edited to add here...whether or not you believe they are hiding stuff and purposely covering it up, or totally inept at times, or both, there's always something like this that happens.

[edit on 8-6-2008 by LateApexer313]



posted on Jun, 8 2008 @ 08:43 PM
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How convenient indeed.



Next they'll lose all communications with it and say 'we never got any results' whilst it trundles around killing alien life aplenty in its ovens.



posted on Jun, 8 2008 @ 08:48 PM
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reply to post by Dan Tanna
 


Dan I am chuckling out loud at that post of yours...

That fits in both theories, that they are hiding everything AND inept...

I can picture that so well, them telling us it's broken so they can "find " the microbes that they probably already know are there and then through their own ineptness burning all proof up in the ovens


I am laughing so darn hard!



posted on Jun, 8 2008 @ 08:52 PM
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you know its closer to the truth than people feel comfortable with.

A martian holocaust is afoot. The will sterilise the planet one scoop at a time.



But in all seriousness they are really really the most decietful agency on the face of the earth.

Just remember they are a defence agency first and foremost.



posted on Jun, 8 2008 @ 09:01 PM
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reply to post by Dan Tanna
 


Martian Holocaust
...

Someone gave me the NASA book put out by Hoagland (sp) for Christmas, I think it was called "Dark Mission." I started it but...so far haven't been able to get through it.



posted on Jun, 8 2008 @ 09:17 PM
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Originally posted by SystemiK
How do they deal with the excess soil which lands around the door openings? Will this not build up to the point that the operation of the oven doors is impeded?


Well, if I was an engineer I would have installed an extension arm with a little blow thingy on the end of it and poof, blow all that excess stuff away. But that's just me. Maybe they did and just forgot to install it.


Rush



posted on Jun, 8 2008 @ 09:20 PM
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Originally posted by LAUGHING-CAT
That's just great.
Now the clods at NASA have been stymied by some clods on Mars.

What an oversite. It seems that none of the designers played in the dirt growing up.




I know what you mean first the toilet and now this!



posted on Jun, 8 2008 @ 09:41 PM
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What they don't have a stick poker thing with that! What an outrage.
Or as my navy boss used to say when I fumbled with a bolt....'You want me to put some hair around that for ya!?'



posted on Jun, 8 2008 @ 09:47 PM
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Thinking about it, they should have sent one of Dyson's vacuum cleaners there instead. They could have at least asked him about any ideas, but, NOOOO, they had to design a glorified Tonka Toy instead. I think they're messing with us.

They might have also sent R2D2.



posted on Jun, 8 2008 @ 09:54 PM
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In theory it looks like it would work great for very fine granular sediment. This stuff looks wet and cloddy. No egghead thought 'hey!' let's pour a pail of water in the sandbox and see what happens!?
Good thing is they have 7 more ovens to do same or similar analysis if this one is hosed. Might be as simple as taking smaller scoops.



posted on Jun, 8 2008 @ 10:10 PM
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Something I'm still wondering is were these TEGA ovens designed to be "one shot" or were they intended to be re-usable? The article mentions that they can shake or vibrate the unit, but it sounds like a very small scale vibration and not enough to redistribute the excess soil away from the door openings.

If the plan was to use each oven multiple times, I'm afraid they are going to have so much soil accumulation that the doors will become inoperable.

I'm going to spend a bit of time to see if I can "dig up" any more info on the operation of those TEGA's.



posted on Jun, 8 2008 @ 11:55 PM
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why wasnt i t designed with a drawyer system?
drawyer slides out, dirt goes in, drawyer closes (excessis scooped off)
then when they are done, they open the drawyer and the bottom drops?
or am i missing some really vital reason that wont work?
also, that martian holocaust had em in stitches

im picturing a spokeman in 2020 from nasa
'we know for a fact there is no life on mars, we killed it all in 2008'



posted on Jun, 9 2008 @ 12:22 AM
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Babylon let me be the first to nominate you for a NASA job. Just read on yahoo they think the first oven is hosed.



posted on Jun, 9 2008 @ 12:47 AM
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Well here is something that wasn't immediately obvious from the pic I posted in the OP.

The TEGA was designed in the shape of an A. The original pic is somewhat skewed and leaves the impression that the mechanical doors are relatively level. In the pic below they are actually at an approximate 45 degree slope.







Each oven is indeed a "one shot" deal..

Source

TEGA is a combination high-temperature furnace and mass spectrometer instrument that scientists will use to analyze martian ice and soil samples. The robotic arm will deliver samples to a hopper designed to feed a small amount of soil and ice into eight tiny ovens about the size of an ink cartridge in a ballpoint pen. Each of these ovens will be used only once to analyze eight unique ice and soil samples.


The fact that the ovens are so extremely small does explain the difficulty in getting a sample inside. I read somewhere that the opening is only 2mm in width.

Given the slope of the TEGA doors, I can now see why they are so optimistic about their ability to open in spite of any excess soil. What remains is the problem in providing granular samples which are small enough to enter such a tiny chamber opening.



[edit on 9-6-2008 by SystemiK]



posted on Jun, 9 2008 @ 02:00 AM
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Did someone forget the KISS method of mechanical engineering?
Keep it simple stup$%.
Guess they had to use up the rest of the budget on that funky behind design.
And if it is a single shooter I will be greatly disappointed. Cannot find any data on that either.
DOH!!! One oven down seven left to fail. Engineering at its finest. Looks like a Baxter 1550 to me. Heavy on electronics. Poor on mechanicals.

[edit on 6/9/2008 by jpm1602]

[edit on 6/9/2008 by jpm1602]



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