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Press Release Images: Spirit
12-May-2006
 
This image shows two shallow, circular holes - one above and one below - that meet in the middle to form an indentation shaped like a figure eight in the Martian soil. The holes are within a larger circular area created by the rock abrasion tool. Inside and outside the holes are tiny, mashed clumps of soil created under pressure from the robotic arm. The total area of the image is approximately 6 centimeters (2.4 inches) square.
Looking for Changes in Soil over Time

The grinding teeth have worn away on the rock abrasion tool of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit (after exposing interiors of five time more rock targets than its design goal of three rocks) but the tool still has useful wire bristles for brushing targets. In this image, a figure-eight-like imprint in the Martian soil marks the spot where Spirit has begun examining subsurface deposits layer by layer. The circular indentations resulted from brushing by the rock abrasion tool, one of several instruments on the rover's robotic arm. As an effective brushing tool it is now fulfilling a soil profiling experiment on a target called "Progress."

The experiment is a multi-step process of carefully brushing away fine layers of soil and then using the Mössbauer and alpha particle X-ray spectrometers, microscopic imager, and panoramic camera to examine the exposed surfaces during the long Martian winter.

This view is a mosaic of exposures taken by Spirit's microscopic imager during the rover's 830th Martian day (May 4, 2006). The total area shown is about 6 centimeters (2.4 inches) square.

Image credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell/USGS
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