Wednesday, October 03, 2007

PolyU-made space tool sets for Mars again

Following the signing of space collaboration agreement between China and Russia earlier this year, scientists at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) got a new chance to design their state-of-the-art space tools for a mission to Mars onboard a Russian spacecraft. The aerospace authorities of the two nations have agreed to jointly probe Mars and its innermost moon Phobos.

It is planned that Russia will launch an explorer carrying a lander with Chinese-made device to collect samples of Phobos soil. The system, which weighs merely 230 grams and measures slightly larger than a cigarette pack, will be capable of grinding and sifting Phobos rock to the size of less than 1mm in diameter for in situ analysis by the Lander. This procedure is considered a crucial step in understanding the evolution of the universe and in searching for possible signs of life on the extraterrestrial planet.
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