This picture shows the fine-grained material at the tip of the Robotic Arm scoop aboard NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander, taken on June 20, 2008. The soil consists of small clumps of fine, fluffy, red soil particles.

Martian soil sample 06.26.08

Tests are under way to analyze the soil but so far it appears to be similar to soils in the upper dry valleys in Antarctica here on Earth. Scientists say it is clear the soil has interacted with water in the past due to salts contained therein and which are being analyzed.

More information should be coming out soon regarding this interesting sample. This is the first time any type of wet chemistry analysis has been performed on Martian soil samples.