Mars Through a Microscope

Phoenix takes unprecedented Mars shots
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 6, 2008 7:34 AM CDT
An artist's rendering of the Phoenix lander on the arctic plains of Mars.    (AP Photo/NASA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Corby Waste)
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(Newser) – The Phoenix Mars Lander has taken the first high-resolution images of another planet's dirt and sand in its continued quest for signs of life in the planet's polar region. The microscopic particles were kicked up when the lander touched down and collected  on a slide, Reuters reports. Scientists note that a whitish material in one image probably is not ice but some kind of mineral.

"We have images showing the diversity of mineralogy on Mars at a scale that is unprecedented in planetary exploration," said a NASA spokesman.