he NASA Phoenix Mars lander, carrying the most ambitious laboratory hardware ever sent to another planet, is ready for launch on a mission to taste Martian water and search for the organic carbon building-blocks of life near the planet’s north pole. The spacecraft’s nearly 8-ft.-long robotic arm will dig trenches up to 3 ft. deep for imagery of subsurface layers and the retrieval of soil and ice samples for its complex mini-laboratories. This should enable Phoenix to determine what’s ...

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