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No Signs of Water Yet from Mars Lander

from the Los Angeles Times (Registration Required)

In its first chemical analysis of soil from Mars' northern plains, NASA's Phoenix lander has turned up no evidence of water, scientists said Monday.

Still, researchers remained confident that the craft is in the right place to uncover veins of ice believed to lie only inches beneath the surface.

A soil sample was cooked twice in one of Phoenix's eight ovens over the last few days, according to William Boynton, lead scientist for the Thermal and Evolved-Gas Analyzer, or TEGA. ... "Had there been any ice, it would have melted," Boynton said. "We saw no water in the soil whatsoever."

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PODCASTS: From Balloons to Space Stations: Studying Cosmic Rays

CREAM Inflating

Cosmic rays have mysterious qualities about them that scientists continue to research in order to better understand their origins and composition. Dr. Eun-Suk Seo, a professor of physics at the University of Maryland, and her colleagues, fly enormous balloons as large as a football stadium and a volume of 40-million-cubic feet for extended periods over Antarctica to study particles coming from cosmic rays before they break up in the atmosphere.

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