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.
The scoop loaded with this sample was poised over an open sample-delivery door of Thermal and Evolved-Gas Analyzer at the end of Sol 11, ready to be dumped into the instrument on the next sol.
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.
Photojournal Note: As planned, the Phoenix lander, which landed May 25, 2008 23:53 UTC, ended communications in November 2008, about six months after landing, when its solar panels ceased operating in the dark Martian winter.