NASA’s Phoenix Lander scooped up this Martian soil on sol 11 of the mission, (June 5, 2008 here on Earth.) This will be the first soil sample to be sent to the oven of the Thermal and Evolved-Gas Analyzer, or TEGA, laboratory on the lander deck. The soil will be “baked” sometime today, and the gases that are emitted will be analyzed to determine the chemical make-up of the Martian arctic soil. The material includes a light-toned clod possibly from crusted surface of the ground, similar in appearance to clods observed near a foot of the lander. This is an approximate true-color view of the contents of the scoop on the Robotic Arm, created by combining separate images taken by the Robotic Arm Camera, using illumination by red, green and blue light-emitting diodes on the camera.
This image shows the Robotic Arm scoop containing a soil sample poised over the partially open door of TEGA’s oven. The material inside the scoop has been slightly brightened in this image.
This image shows the trenches dug by Phoenix’s Robotic Arm. The trench on the left was nicknamed “Dodo” and was dug first as a test. The trench on the right is “Baby Bear,” and the sample dug from this trench will be delivered to TEGA. The Baby Bear trench is 9 centimeters (3.1 inches) wide and 4 centimeters (1.6 inches) deep.
News Source: Phoenix News