One Scoop of Regolith - Cup or Cone?

Phoenix shows us what it scooped up recently from its test dig. The contents are so uniformly rusty that anything different sticks out...and in this case, it's all the white stuff. NASA says it could be ice...or it could be salt. If its both, then it doesn't matter whether there's life on Mars. We'll be able to make ice cream! They're also saying that its the same material as the ice table under Phoenix.

The Phoenix mission's team seems to be more conservative in their release of information, compared to the initial euphoria following the Spirit and Opportunity missions. Or maybe they are just too inundated with work to make every tidbit known to someone like me. I had high hopes for their blogs, for instance, but they don't update them on a regular basis. Instead, Phoenix is all atwitter with...Twitter. Short snappy bursts of info are better than nothing, and they've already answered some of my questions (like if it's solid mass of ice, how do they hope to scoop any up?)
Team believes that's ice under my deck, but they need to study it more before they confirm it. More pics of "holy cow" are planned

Looking forward to an exciting day on Mars; My first dig in the dirt! Team calls this a "dig and dump" test of my robotic arm and scoop.

Robotic arm can dig to depth of .5 meter (20 in) in soil; for ice I'll use a powered rasp to scrape the ice.
So, what does any of this have to do with the Way of the Woo blog? First, I'm interested in it. Second, the possibility of life on another planet is one of those crossroads between many forms of religion and science. If signs of past life are found on Mars, then it may mean that life is inevitable and not a statistical improbability as the Answers in Genesis crowd would have you think.

No comments: