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Nasa's Phoenix lander has provided the most magnified view ever of Martian soil.
Two scientific instruments, a microscope and a "bake-and-sniff" analyser, have begun inspecting soil samples delivered by the scoop on the spacecraft's robotic arm.
Dr Tom Pike, from Imperial College London, is one of the scientists working on the mission. He has been writing a diary for the BBC News website of his experiences.
E.T. hunters join forces with Mars lander crew
The University of Arizona-led Phoenix Mars Mission includes an intriguing partner: a group dedicated to finding extraterrestrials.
The SETI Institute — SETI stands for the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence — is a partner in science experiments under way on the red planet.