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Spirit Flexes Its Arm

Friday, January 16, 2004

Mars in Glorious Detail
Mars in Glorious Detail

This close-up look at a patch of martian soil is the sharpest image ever taken of another planet. The picture was captured by the microscopic imager located on the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit's instrument deployment device, or "arm." Scientists liken the alien soil to clumpy cocoa powder. The upper left corner of the soil patch is illuminated by direct sunlight and thus appears brighter. The actual size of the patch is about 3 centimeters (1.2 inches) across.

NASA/JPL/Cornell/USGS Astro

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NASA's Spirit rover reached out with its versatile robotic arm early today and examined a patch of fine-grained martian soil with a microscope at the end of the arm. "I'm elated and relieved at how well things are going. We got some great images in our first day of using the microscopic imager on Mars," said USGS Astrogeology's Ken Herkenhoff Herkenhoff is the lead scientist for the microscopic imagers on Spirit and on Spirit's twin Mars Exploration Rover, Opportunity.

More: NASA - Spirit Flexes Its Arm to Use Microscope on Mars' Soil

Link: USGS Astro - Mars Exploration Rovers Project