Robot leaves its mark on Mars

TUCSON, Ariz. - NASA's new robot on Mars has reached out and touched the soil for the first time, leaving a striking footprint-like impression, scientists said yesterday.

The Phoenix Mars Lander's robotic arm was making a test run, just a week after its landing. The spacecraft, which is also a laboratory, will start scooping up soil and ice and running tests.

"This first touch allows us to utilize the robotic arm accurately," said David Spencer, Phoenix's surface mission manager at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

NASA on Saturday showed sharp images of what appeared to be ice exposed under the lander. The mission's main goal is to test ice for evidence of organic compounds that are the chemical building blocks of life.

- AP

Probe continues of crane collapse

NEW YORK - Crews examined the wreckage at a Manhattan apartment building yesterday that was damaged in a deadly crane collapse, as displaced residents waited to see when they could get back inside.

Among the residents were Gina and Larry Bliss and their two daughters, who moved in just a week before the accident. They had been told they could go in yesterday morning to check on their belongings. But when they got to the police barricade at the scene, where two men were killed and another was injured Friday, they were told to return later.

The cab of the 200-foot crane popped off its mast and scraped the balconies off the corner of the building. Yesterday, a cherry picker hoisted workers onto the damaged building's top floor to survey the wreckage. The Department of Buildings said a forensic investigation into the collapse had started.

- AP