A scanning electron microscope captured this image of terresterial soil containing a phyllosilicate mineral from Koua Bocca, Ivory Coast, West Africa. This soil shares some similarities with Martian soil scooped by the Phoenix Lander. This image's field of view is approximately 23 microns wide.
The Phoenix Mission is led by the University of Arizona, Tucson, on behalf of NASA. Project management of the mission is by JPL, Pasadena, Calif. Spacecraft development was by Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver.
Photo courtesy of Michael Velbel (Michigan State University) and William Barker, (University of Wisconsin-Madison). From the image database of the Clay Minerals Society and the Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and Ireland at http://www.minersoc.org/pages/gallery/claypix/index.html.
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.