This magnified look at the martian soil near the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity's landing site, Meridiani Planum, shows coarse grains sprinkled over a fine layer of sand. The image was captured by the rover's microscopic imager on the 10th day, or sol, of its mission. Scientists are intrigued by the spherical rocks, which can be formed by a variety of geologic processes, including cooling of molten lava droplets and accretion of concentric layers of material around a particle or "seed."View all Images
The examined patch of soil is 3 centimeters (1.2 inches) across. The circular grain in the lower left corner is approximately 3 millimeters (.12 inches) across, or about the size of a sunflower seed.