The Phoenix Mars Lander has successfully deployed its robotic arm and tested other instruments including a laser designed to detect dust, clouds, and fog. The arm will be used to dig up samples of the Martian surface, which will be analyzed as a possible habitat for life. A camera on the arm will allow pictures to be taken of the ground directly beneath the lander. The camera has already seen what may be ice, which was exposed when the soil was disturbed by the landing. The data collected by the arm will be compared to recent findings which suggest that water on Mars may have been too salty for most known forms of life.
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