PIA05111: Powerful Yet Tiny Machine
Mission: Mars Exploration Rover (MER)
Spacecraft: Spirit
Instrument: Moessbauer Spectrometer
Product Size: 756 x 716 pixels (width x height)
Produced By: JPL
Full-Res TIFF: PIA05111.tif (1.454 MB)
Full-Res JPEG: PIA05111.jpg (51.45 kB)

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This image taken at JPL shows the Moessbauer spectrometer, an instrument on the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit that detects iron-bearing minerals in martian rocks and soil. Located on the rover's instrument deployment device, or "arm," this machine uses two pieces of radioactive cobalt-57, each about the size of pencil erasers, to determine with a high degree of accuracy the composition and abundance of iron-bearing minerals too difficult to detect by other means.

Image Credit:
NASA/JPL/University of Mainz

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