A holiday from earthly news allowed NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory to attract attention to its probe on Mars. All three networks assigned a correspondent to tell us about the safe landing of Phoenix after a 420m mile, ten month voyage, using braking rockets and a parachute to settle on the red planet's icy polar region. The cracks in the surface there resemble those created by the freezing and thawing of water in the Earth's arctic. On ABC, New York based Ned Potter (embargoed link) showed us pictures of the landing taken from a second Mars probe that is orbiting the planet. "Scientists are looking for what lies beneath the permafrost," CBS' Ben Tracy explained from Pasadena. NBC's Chris Jansing was there too. She told us about the probe's "eight foot long robotic arm" which ill dig up the martial dirt "like a backhoe, scoop up icy samples and analyze them in on-board laboratories."
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