NASA / JPL / CORNELL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / JPL / CORNELL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Mars surface. Rocks and soil around an area that was examined by the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit. The bare patch of soil at lower centre (between four rocks forming a square) was examined by instruments on the rover's instrument deployment 'arm'. A mineral called olivine was detected, and the soil texture was not dust-like as thought. Instead, it appeared solid and unyielding to contact. Spirit will also search for evidence of past or present water on Mars. The soil analysis, on both 16 and 18 January 2004, was the first detailed experiment by Spirit. The picture was taken by Spirit's panoramic camera. Part of the rover is at bottom right.
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