Sunday, June 15, 2008

Phoenix sends microscopic views of Martian soil

Phoenix Delivers Soil Sample to Microscope

06.13.08 -- New observations from NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander provide the most magnified view ever seen of Martian soil, showing particles clumping together even at the smallest visible scale.

Three zoomed-in portions are shown with an image of Martian soil particles taken by the Optical Microscope on NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander. .....Click picture to enlarge

The left zoom box shows a composite particle. The top of the particle has a green tinge, possibly indicating olivine. The bottom of the particle has been reimaged at a different focus position in black and white (middle zoom box), showing that this is a clump of finer particles.

The right zoom box shows a rounded, glassy particle, similar to those which have also been seen in an earlier sample of airfall dust collected on a surface exposed during landing.

The shadows at the bottom of image are of the beams of the Atomic Force Microscope.

The microscope took this image during Phoenix's Sol 17 (June 11, 2008), or the 13th Martian day after landing. The scale bar is 1 millimeter (0.04 inch).

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