This image shows a microscopic view of fine-grained material at the tip of the Robotic Arm scoop as seen by the Robotic Arm Camera (RAC) aboard NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander on June 20, 2008, the 26th Martian day, or sol, of the mission.
RAC scientists took this image at a resolution of 30 microns by rotating the scoop to within 11 millimeters of the camera's front lens and refocusing the camera to macro focus. The image shows small clumps of fine, fluffy, red soil particles collected in a sample called 'Rosy Red.' The sample was dug from the trench named 'Snow White' in the area called 'Wonderland.' Some of the Rosy Red sample was delivered to Phoenix's Optical Microscope and Wet Chemistry Laboratory for analysis.
The RAC provides its own illumination, so the color seen in RAC images is color as seen on Earth, not color as it would appear on Mars.
The image behind the RAC image, taken by Phoenix's Surface Stereo Imager also on Sol 26, provides context. (See PIA10918 for the animation.)
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.