NASA / JPL / CORNELL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / JPL / CORNELL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Spirit rover on Mars. Robotic arm of the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit, which landed on Mars on 4 January 2004. The instrument deployment device (IDD) is a retractable 'arm', which carries tools for preparing and analysing rock samples. The rock abrasion tool (RAT, upper left) is used to expose new layers of rock for examination by the microscopic imager (centre left). The Mossbauer spectrometer (lower left) analyses the iron content of rocks, and the Alpha-Particle-X-ray spectrometer (not seen) determines their elemental composition. Such investigations may reveal how rocks were formed and whether this region of the Martian surface was once covered in water.
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