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NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander scooped up this Martian soil on the mission's 11th Martian day, or sol, after landing (June 5, 2008) as the first soil sample for delivery to the laboratory on the lander deck.
The material includes a light-toned clod possibly from crusted surface of the ground, similar in appearance to clods observed near a foot of the lander.
This approximately true-color view of the contents of the scoop on the Robotic Arm comes from combining separate images taken by the Robotic Arm Camera on Sol 11, using illumination by red, green and blue light-emitting diodes on the camera.
This image was taken by NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander's Surface Stereo Imager on Sol 11 (June 5, 2008), the eleventh day after landing. It shows the Robotic Arm scoop containing a soil sample poised over the partially open door of the Thermal and Evolved-Gas Analyzer's number four cell, or oven.
Light-colored clods of material visible toward the scoop's lower edge may be part of the crusted surface material seen previously near the foot of the lander. The material inside the scoop has been slightly brightened in this image.
June 11, 2008 -- NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander has filled its first oven with Martian soil.
"We have an oven full," Phoenix co-investigator Bill Boynton of the University of Arizona, Tucson, said today. "It took 10 seconds to fill the oven. The ground moved."
Boynton leads the Thermal and Evolved-Gas Analyzer instrument, or TEGA, for Phoenix. The instrument has eight separate tiny ovens to bake and sniff the soil to assess its volatile ingredients, such as water.
The lander's Robotic Arm delivered a partial scoopful of clumpy soil from a trench informally called "Baby Bear" to the number 4 oven on TEGA last Friday, June 6, which was 12 days after landing.
TUCSON, Ariz. -- 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.
In the past two days, two instruments on the lander deck -- a microscope and a bake-and-sniff analyzer -- have begun inspecting soil samples delivered by the scoop on Phoenix's Robotic Arm.
"This is the first time since the Viking missions three decades ago that a sample is being studied inside an instrument on Mars," said Phoenix Principal Investigator Peter Smith of the University of Arizona, Tucson.