The Phoenix lander’s search for Martian life evidence will begin in earnest this week as the spacecraft’s organic chemistry instrument is fed a sample of 100% water ice. The mission team also wants to do ice sampling as early as possible, in the event an electrical short in the device prematurely halts organic-oven operations. The ice sample is to be processed starting about July 9, with results due about July 15. This marks a major shift in mission emphasis—from the general ...

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