Microscopic Image of Martian Surface Material on a Silicone Substrate
This image taken by the Optical Microscope on NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander shows soil sprinkled from the lander's Robot Arm scoop onto a silicone substrate. The substrate was then rotated in front of the microscope. This is the first sample collected and delivered for instrumental analysis onboard a planetary lander since NASA's Viking Mars missions of the 1970s. It is also the highest resolution image yet seen of Martian soil.
The image is dominated by fine particles close to the resolution of the microscope. These particles have formed clumps, which may be a smaller scale version of what has been observed by Phoenix during digging of the surface material.
The microscope took this image during Phoenix's Sol 17 (June 11), or the 17th Martian day after landing. The scale bar is 1 millimeter (0.04 inch).
The Phoenix Mission is led by the University of Arizona, Tucson, on behalf of NASA. Project management of the mission is by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. Spacecraft development is by Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver.
Image NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona› Full Resolution› View Main Page