25 May 2008
Phoenix Lands on Mars: Swiss AFM To Help Explore Mars Environment
NASA's Phoenix Lander has successfully touched down in the northern polar region of Mars. The goal of the Phoenix Mission is to answer important questions such as whether water exists in forms that support life. All on board instruments are checked for functionality during the first few days after a successful landing, following which the first measurement data will be transmitted to Earth. One of the instruments on board the Phoenix Lander is a Swiss-made atomic force microscope (AFM) designed to investigate Martian soil samples for possible traces of ice. This Nano-microscope is the fruit of scientific collaboration between the Institute of Microtechnology at the University of Neuchâtel, the Institute of Physics at the University of Basel, and Nanosurf AG in Liestal.
Nanosurf AG is proud to contribute the first space-adapted atomic force microscope (AFM) for this Mission. For Lukas Howald, physicist and co-founder of Nanosurf, the choice of Nanosurf as project partner for the Mars expedition confirms the world-class abilities of Swiss nano-specialists: "Nobody else was able to contribute a similarly small, lightweight, and low-power system for this mission."
Nanosurf AG, maker and technological world market leader for user-friendly and automated nano-microscopes for surface visualization, counts about 30 employees in Liestal.
For up-to-date progress on the Phoenix Mars Mission, visit NASA's website at: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/phoenix/main/index.html
About Nanoscience Instruments
Nanoscience Instruments, Inc. provides technical sales and support as the leading US distributor of Atomic Force Microscope systems and supplies.
Information about the world's smallest and most user-friendly AFMs, AFM accessories, and AFM probes can be found at www.nanoscience.com.
Joseph S. Grech