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This animation shows the Wet Chemistry Laboratory, an instrument that is part of NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander's Microscopy, Electrochemistry, and Conductivity Analyzer (MECA).
Operation of the Wet Chemistry Laboratory begins with thawing of a container of a calibration and soaking solution (mostly water) which is then dispensed into a beaker lined with sensors. Soil is then added and the solution is stirred for several hours while the sensors are monitored. Small crucibles of chemicals are added to test specific properties of the solution.
The Phoenix Mission is led by the University of Arizona, Tucson, on behalf of NASA. Project management of the mission is by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. Spacecraft development is by Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/SSV