This view from the Robotic Arm Camera on NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander shows the Robotic Arm scoop. This image was taken on the 59th Martian day, or sol, of the mission (July 25, 2008). The scoop was photographed to confirm it is empty in preparation for collecting a sample for analysis from a hard subsurface layer where soil may contain frozen water.
The width of the scoop is about 8.5 centimeters (3.3 inches).
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.