A team from Imperial College London’s Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering is developing technology that will be carried on the Mars Phoenix mission to analyse the Martian soil.
The team, led by Dr Tom Pike, has developed substrates that will hold soil samples for microscope imaging aboard the
An optical microscope and an atomic force microscope will image the grains of Martian dust and soil, delivered by a mechanical excavating arm. Together they will provide the highest resolution of imaging ever taken on another planet.
The team has been conducting trials on a replica of
The launch date is scheduled for a three-week period after 3 August 2007. During the analysis phase Dr Pike and his team will be based at Mission Control. They will be part of the team operating the microscope station.
The construction of the microscope station is an international effort with the