We describe an image-comparison technique of Heidemann and Ritter [4,5] that uses image compression, and is capable of: (i) detecting novel textures in a series of images, as well as of: (ii) alerting the user to the similarity of a new image to a previously-observed texture. This image-comparison technique has been implemented and tested using our Astrobiology Phone-cam system, which employs Bluetooth communication to send images to a local laptop server in the field for the image-compression analysis. We tested the system in a field site displaying a heterogeneous suite of sandstones, limestones, mudstones and coalbeds. Some of the rocks are partly covered with lichen. The imagematching procedure of this system performed very well with data obtained through our field test, grouping all images of yellow lichens together and grouping all images of a coal bed together, and giving a 91% accuracy for similarity detection. Such similarity detection could be employed to make maps of different geological units. The novelty-detection performance of our system was also rather good (a 64% accuracy). Such novelty detection may become valuable in searching for new geological units, which could be of astrobiological interest. By providing more advanced capabilities for similarity detection and novelty detection, this image-compression technique could be useful in giving more scientific autonomy to robotic planetary rovers, and in assisting human astronauts in their geological exploration.