This is an illustration of soil analysis on NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander's Wet Chemistry Lab (WCL) on board the Microscopy, Electrochemistry, and Conductivity Analyzer (MECA) instrument. By dissolving small amounts of soil in water, WCL will attempt to determine the pH, the abundance of minerals such as magnesium and sodium cations or chloride, bromide and sulfate anions, as well as the conductivity and redox potential.
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.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona