The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

July 31, 2008


Julu: I'm trying to tell you something, my gums
bleed, corrode, just like any others, in this stillness air,
in this absent air.
Nikuko: Wind blowing through you, around you, we
wait for those moments when sound will penetrate
bodies, resonate with dim and elder woods,
make noise and even music, among us, to our delight.
Julu: In these dark woods, lights are pasted
across our sheave-skin bodies, blinding us;
through pure absence, nothing happens, codes are processed,
roil within the distant machines, at times no further
than the kindly things at home.
Nikuko: Speculating beyond your means, but yet my powers
have grown into astonishing beliefs. I can move things
I no longer can caress; the real flees from me, I am left
distraught, along in spaces emptied of abstract surfaces.
Julu: At a distance, we touch, and no longer no closer;
our loneliness lies in our uselessness for approach, caress,
and love. We meld into each other sometimes bridged across
these spaces, leaving trails and vestiges of garnered
presence - notes across chasms, worlds tuned across voids
where we, alien and aligned, despair of ever talking.
Nikuko: Yet born of one another, borne among each other,
our love continues to build, tune and emulate, and emulate
again, until nothing of original remains, only physics
born of inconceivable signs 'raised to an incandescent power.'
Julu: What is cleared, of space and time, is always replete;
what is replete is always alone; our things are never
in-themselves, but among-others; our monads slur their
boundaries helplessly, we are at the mercy of things and gods,
machines far beyond control.
Nikuko: Our love is always memory, that is our love.
Julu: Our flights, our poise, our wandering ways.
Nikuko: Prayerful life is useless, only our deaths entwined
will save us. - tuning jpgs

Date: Thu, 31 Jul 2008 14:30:27 -0700
From: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory <>
To: "" <>
Subject: NASA Spacecraft Confirms Martian Water, Mission Extended


Guy Webster 818-354-6278
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

Dwayne Brown   202-358-1726
NASA Headquarters,Washington

Sara Hammond 520-626-1974
University of Arizona, Tucson

                            RELEASE: 2008-153 July 31, 2008

NASA Spacecraft Confirms Martian Water, Mission Extended

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Laboratory tests aboard NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander have
identified water in a soil sample. The lander's robotic arm delivered the
sample Wednesday to an instrument that identifies vapors produced by the
heating of samples.

"We have water," said William Boynton of the University of Arizona, lead
scientist for the Thermal and Evolved-Gas Analyzer, or TEGA. "We've seen
evidence for this water ice before in observations by the Mars Odyssey orbiter
and in disappearing chunks observed by Phoenix last month, but this is the
first time Martian water has been touched and tasted."

With enticing results so far and the spacecraft in good shape, NASA also
announced operational funding for the mission will extend through Sept. 30. The
original prime mission of three months ends in late August. The mission
extension adds five weeks to the 90 days of the prime mission.

"Phoenix is healthy and the projections for solar power look good, so we want
to take full advantage of having this resource in one of the most interesting
locations on Mars," said Michael Meyer, chief scientist for the Mars
Exploration Program at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

The soil sample came from a trench approximately 2 inches deep. When the
robotic arm first reached that depth, it hit a hard layer of frozen soil. Two
attempts to deliver samples of

icy soil on days when fresh material was exposed were foiled when the samples
became stuck inside the scoop. Most of the material in Wednesday's sample had
been exposed to the air for two days, letting some of the water in the sample
vaporize away and making the soil easier to handle.

"Mars is giving us some surprises," said Phoenix principal investigator Peter
Smith of the University of Arizona. "We're excited because surprises are where
discoveries come from. One surprise is how the soil is behaving. The ice-rich
layers stick to the scoop when poised in the sun above the deck, different from
what we expected from all the Mars simulation testing we've done. That has
presented challenges for delivering samples, but we're finding ways to work
with it and we're gathering lots of information to help us understand this

Since landing on May 25, Phoenix has been studying soil with a chemistry lab,
TEGA, a microscope, a conductivity probe and cameras. Besides confirming the
2002 finding from orbit of water ice near the surface and deciphering the newly
observed stickiness, the science team is trying to determine whether the water
ice ever thaws enough to be available for biology and if carbon-containing
chemicals and other raw materials for life are present.

The mission is examining the sky as well as the ground. A Canadian instrument
is using a laser beam to study dust and clouds overhead.

"It's a 30-watt light bulb giving us a laser show on Mars," said Victoria
Hipkin of the Canadian Space Agency.

A full-circle, color panorama of Phoenix's surroundings also has been completed
by the spacecraft.

"The details and patterns we see in the ground show an ice-dominated terrain as
far as the eye can see," said Mark Lemmon of Texas A&M University, lead
scientist for Phoenix's Surface Stereo Imager camera. "They help us plan
measurements we're making within reach of the robotic arm and interpret those
measurements on a wider scale."

The Phoenix mission is led by Smith at the University of Arizona with project
management at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and
development partnership at Lockheed Martin in Denver. International
contributions come from the Canadian Space Agency; the University of Neuchatel,
Switzerland; the universities of Copenhagen and Aarhus in Denmark; the Max
Planck Institute in Germany; and the Finnish Meteorological Institute.

For more about Phoenix, visit:


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