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NASA Robot Scoops Martian Soil for First Time

from the San Diego Union-Tribune (Registration Required)

LOS ANGELES (Associated Press) - NASA's newest spacecraft got down and dirty on Mars, taking its first practice scoop of Martian soil ahead of the actual dig expected later this week, scientists said Monday.

The test dig made Sunday by the Phoenix Mars Lander's 8-foot-long robotic arm uncovered bits of bright specks in the soil believed to be ice or salt.

"We see this nice streak of white material," said Pat Woida, senior engineer at the University of Arizona, Tucson, which is directing the mission. "We don't know what this material is yet."

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PODCAST & VIDEO: 3D Printing Replacement Body Parts

Regenerative medicine, a fledgling field with the aim of regrowing parts from a person’s own cells, is being amplified with 3D-printing technology, which can now use organic materials to create scaffolds that cells need to grow into their final forms. Richard Wysk, a professor of industrial and systems engineering at North Carolina State University, discusses the latest successes with this research, and the timeline for creating more complicated structures.

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