Feeds

Mars Lander shows rock who's boss

For it's work all day for the sugar in your tay

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

In case you've been living under a rock on some distant planet, NASA apologizes for the intrusion.

Image courtesy of NASA

The Phoenix Mars Lander has completed the tricky task of nudging aside a Martian rock roughly the size and shape of a VHS tape so that curious Earthling scientists could peer underneath.

The lander's robotic arm moved the rock, called "Headless," about 40 centimeters from its previous location during the mission's 117 Martian day on September 22. Phoenix had spent Saturday enlarging a trench close to Headless to make a suitable place to place the rock.

Scientists hoped to displace Headless while keeping ground disturbance at a minimum in order to study the soil and depth to subsurface ice underneath.

Because the lander receives commands for an entire day during the morning, engineers on Earth had no way to make adjustments during the move if anything began to slip.

Quarry work is also not among the many tasks Phoenix is built to do, making the job one of the more interesting feats of rock rolling since Sisyphus gave it a go.

"The rock ended up exactly where we intended it to," said Matt Robinson, head of Phoenix's robotic arm flight software at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Scientists can now take a gander at the ice table under the rock to get a better idea why the rocks are darker than the material around them. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
Rosetta science team thinks Philae might come to life in the spring
And disclose the biggest surprise of Comet 67P
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
prev story

Whitepapers

Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Mitigating web security risk with SSL certificates
Web-based systems are essential tools for running business processes and delivering services to customers.