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MECA characterizes the soil of Mars much like a gardener would test the soil in his or her yard. By dissolving small amounts of soil in water, the wet chemistry lab (WCL) determines the pH, the abundance of minerals such as magnesium and sodium cations or chloride, bromide and sulfate anions, as well as the conductivity and redox potential. Looking through a microscope, MECA examines the soil grains to help determine their origin and mineralogy. Needles stuck into the soil determine the water and ice content, and the ability of both heat and water vapor to penetrate the soil.
The RAC is attached to the Robotic Arm (RA) just above the scoop. The instrument provides close-up, full-color images of (1) the martian surface in the vicinity of the lander, (2) prospective soil and water ice samples in the trench dug by the RA, (3) verification of collected samples in the scoop prior to analysis by the MECA and TEGA instruments, and (4) the floor and side-walls of the trench to examine fine-scale texturing and layering.
SSI will serve as Phoenix's "eyes" for the mission, providing high-resolution, stereo, panoramic images of the martian arctic. Using an advanced optical system, SSI will survey the arctic landing site for geological context, provide range maps in support of digging operations, and make atmospheric dust and cloud measurements.
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.
Once a sample is successfully received and sealed in an oven, the temperature is slowly increased at a constant rate, and the power required for heating is carefully and continuously monitored. This process, called scanning calorimetry, shows the transitions from solid to liquid to gas of the different materials in the sample: important information needed by scientists to understand the chemical character of the soil and ice.
Throughout the course of Phoenix surface operations, MET will record the daily weather of the martian northern plains using temperature and pressure sensors, as well as a light detection and ranging (LIDAR) instrument. With these instruments, MET will play an important role by providing information on the current state of the polar atmosphere and how water is cycled between the solid and gas phases in the martian arctic.
The MET's lidar is an instrument that operates on the same basic principle as RADAR, using powerful laser light pulses rather than radio waves. The lidar transmits light vertically into the atmosphere, which is reflected off dust and ice particles. These reflected light pulses and their time of return to the lidar instrument are analyzed, revealing information about the size of atmospheric particles and their location.
Originally posted by weedwhacker
reply to post by GoldenFleece
GF.....you are looking at a photo of a MOCK-UP!!!!!
Why not come visit Washington, DC, come to the 'Air and Space Museum', and see a REAL LEM....that is on display, because it never flew. It was built, never flew, because Apollo was cancelled after 17.
Also, go to Florida....see a complete Saturn V, on its side....again, built, never flew.
(maybe the problem is a generational thing....perhaps it's about kids who just didn't get a good science education???)
This is something I've been noticing, lately.....
Originally posted by weedwhacker
EDIT.....this is a constant claim by 'de-bunkers'.....
"Where is the Blast Crater????"
BS!!! The regolith on the Moon was basically hard dirt ( to compare to earth) with some soil above it. the depth of the 'soil' isn't what you'd expect in Earth farms, for instance!!!