Wielding its robotic arm like a backhoe, Phoenix is designed to dig down in to the Martian soil to collect water ice samples. It will feed them into small onboard ovens and beakers to determine if its landing site may have once been habitable for microbial life.
"We believe that the ice is somewhere between 4 and 6 centimeters (1.5 to 2.3 inches) below the surface," Phoenix deputy principal investigator Deborah Bass of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) told SPACE.com. "It's not going to be ice skating rink-pure, white, shiny ice. It's going to be permafrost - dust, dirt and ice all mixed together."
You’ll be able to watch the landing “live” as the signals reach earth on NASA TV. Link -via Simply Left Behind
(image credit: NASA)