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Scale of Phoenix Optical Microscope Images
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Scale of Phoenix Optical Microscope Images

June 11, 2008

This set of pictures gives context for the size of individual images from the Optical Microscope on NASA's Mars Phoenix Lander.

The picture in the upper left was taken on Mars by the Surface Stereo Imager on Phoenix. It shows a portion of the microscope's sample stage exposed to accept a sample. In this case, the sample was of dust kicked up by the spacecraft thrusters during landers. Later samples will include soil delivered by the Robotic Arm.

The other pictures were taken on Earth. They show close-ups of circular substrates on which the microscopic samples rest when the microscope images them. Each circular substrate target is 3 millimeters (about one-tenth of an inch) in diameter. Each image taken by the microscope covers and area 2 millimeters by 1 millimeter (0.08 inch by 0.04 inch), the size of a large grain of sand.

The Optical Microscope is part of Phoenix's Microscopy, Electrochemistry and Conductivity Analyzer (MECA) instrument suite.

The Phoenix Mission is led by the University of Arizona, Tucson, on behalf of NASA. Project management of the mission is by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. Spacecraft development is by Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver.



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